Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Urban Seder

This night is way different from any other night and if you are Jew or gentile you should experience passover the Urban way. Especially if you are a foodie. Urban Solace is presenting their second annual Urban Seder. Jews and gentiles will gather around the table for dinner and a passover Seder led by Sam The Cooking Guy (Sam Zien) and restaurant critic Steve Silverman.
This is all for a good cause as a portion of the proceeds benefit Jewish Family Services Project SARAH (Stop Abusive Relationships At Home) which offers a safe, confidential setting for adults and teens experiencing abuse and for children growing up in abusive homes.

Sam the Cooking Guy and Steve Silverman will conduct the Seder using the "Haggadah for Urban Solace" compiled by Steve. Then mixing his signature style with time-honored recipes, Chef Gordon will serve, family-style, dishes including chicken liver pâté, charoset and house-made gefilte fish. The Seder will conclude with a four course dinner paired with a selection of West Coast Wines:

First: Caramelized Fennel and Roasted Garlic Matzo Ball with Jidori Chicken Consommé

Second: Cold Smoked Char with Asparagus/Lemon/Herb Quinoa

Third: Braised Shortrib, Green Garlic Pistou, Sweet Potato-Parsnip Tzimmes

Fourth: Lemon Blackberry Cake with Basil/Mint and Cracked Almonds

Passover commemorates the Jews' flight from Egypt over 3,000 years ago. During the Seder participants read from the Haggadah, which recounts the story of the Exodus.

The price is $90 for adults, including wine, and $75 for children. For reservations and information click here and get out and have some great food, experience an Urban Passover, all for a good cause.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Green Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes are my favorite so when I came across this recipe by Bakerella I had to share it! It's perfect for St. Patrick's day which is just around the corner.
Also this recipe calls for a Cooked Frosting which is a little twist to the classic creme cheese frosting.
You need to use 1 whole bottle of Green food coloring!
Shamrock sprinkles are a must and will bring you lots of luck!
Red Velvet Cake

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. red food coloring (for the Green Velvet Cupcakes use one 2 oz. green food coloring)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans.
  • Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Add remaining liquid ingredients and stir together with whisk until blended. Set aside.
  • Place all the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together really good with another wire whisk.
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined.
  • Pour into cake pans and then drop the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • After about ten minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. I also cover in plastic wrap while the cakes cool.
  • Then make the frosting.
Check out the color of this batter!
It's looking pretty good!
Cooked frosting

1 cup milk
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temp ( I think … may have been two… can’t remember which I used for sure.)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Cook milk and flour. (cooked until pretty thick)
  • Cool.
  • Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add cooled cooked mixture to creamed mixture and beat until combined.
How cute are these?
You can also make cake balls!
For more images and details of this recipe click here and
don't forget to wear a little something green while you are baking a little something green!
I hope you have a Happy St. Patrick's Day and that the shamrock sprinkles bring you lots of luck this year.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Il Postino

Last night I stumbled upon a brand new restaurant in North Park called Il Postino. Il Postino means the postman in Italian and this place was delivered right on time to the just the right area. The creators of Arrivederci opened up this large gem on Wednesday. You would have thought it was open for a month as there were not too many signs this restaurant had any kinks to work out. The decor has a tasteful modern vintage mailman theme. The chain see-through wall divider with a mailman printed on it was my favorite along with all the wood tables that were imprinted with black stamp like mailman art work. This place is very open but does not feel to spread out so you feel like you are in a quaint Italian restaurant someplace in Italy. The impressive stocked u-shaped bar was full of young hip professionals drinking wine and sharing yummy very reasonable bites. The flat screen TV was playing European Football. With four spots left at the bar we couldn't resist the vibe we felt so we posted ourselves at the bar where the view of the whole restaurant is the best.

We ordered wine and appetizers to share. My favorite appetizer of the evening was the special Scallops for $8.50 and this dish could have been an entrée as the serving was so generous. The scallops were perfectly cooked and served on top of mounds of sautéed spinach, floating in a delicate rich sauce that was soaked up with fresh homemade bread. It was divine. We also had the Caprese Salad which was very large and served with a ton of house roasted red peppers that were delicious. The tomatoes and mozzarella were so fresh they melted in your mouth. We also had a prosciutto fruit plate which was not my favorite. The melons were not ripe and there is nothing worse then salty prosciutto on a tasteless melon. The melons should have been left off the plate.
I was most impressed by the wine list which has over 400 wines from all over the world and was hand picked by Luca Forte of Forte Selection. He is a wine marketing consultant and this man knows his wines! We had the pleasure of meeting him that night and he introduced us to some fantastic wines and we even got a tour of the wine cellar which was amazing and was my favorite part of the evening. I am planning to make this place a regular spot and I can't wait to go and have a real sit down meal. I was eying the Osso Buco as another Italian waiter named Luca passed me and it looked incredible! This place is a must. Check it out before the word gets out because I expect Il Postino to be the next hot spot. No one likes to wait in line at the post office so be sure to make a reservation.Il Postino by Arrivederci 3959 30th st. san diego ca. 92104 p. 619.325.0809

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One Hot Chick!

I did it! I fabricated (cut-up) my first chicken. It might not sound like a big deal but it is much harder then you think. At school we have the luxury of the chicken being all cleaned up for us (minus giblets) but the one I bought in the store came with a big surprise. Giblets! Not the prettiest thing I have ever seen. Also when we fabricate chickens at school I have other classmates and the teacher to help me when I have questions. Tonight I was on my own! That is where the anxiety began! Fabricating a chicken is not such a pretty sight but once I got past that I was smooth cutting. It takes a lot of technique to fabricate a chicken correctly. You want to make sure not to waste any of the meat and you have to make all the cuts (with a boning knife) in the right spots. So you are probably saying to yourself "why don't you buy a chicken already cut up?" For one reason it's less expensive to do it yourself and the main reason is this is just the start for all the other cuts I will learn in my culinary class! Chicken Supreme (not talking about McDonald's), Airline Breast, and how to bone a leg & thigh! Oh My!
The fun started once I was done fabricating my chicken. I made a recipe I learned in class and I would like to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! If you are not up to fabricating your own chicken just buy a couple cut up chickens and make this recipe. If you would like to try to cut up your own chicken check out how to do it here. Either way this recipe will not disappoint!
Chef Joe's Grilled Chicken with Jalapeno Lime Compound Butter

Serves 8
2 whole chickens cut up skin on
salt- 2 T; black pepper 1/2 tsp; granulated garlic 2 T; paprika 1 tsp
Butter Compound
butter, softened 1/2 #; red onions minced 4 T; garlic minced 1 T; Sambal Oelek Chili Paste (Asian section); jalapeno minced (leave seeds for more of a kick) 1 T; limes, juiced 2 ea.; Worcestershire sauce 1 T; Italian parsley minced 1 T; salt & pepper to taste
Mix rub together and rub all over chicken. Let sit on chicken for 15 minutes. Grill chicken on barbecue covered over medium heat about 10-12 minutes on each side.
Mix all ingredients of butter compound together with wooden spoon. Put mixture in a large bowl and when chicken is done put chicken in the bowl immediately. Mix with tongs so butter compound melts and coats the chicken. Serve hot and make sure to get some fresh peasant style bread to soak up that butter! Enjoy!