Remodeling la cocina and rediscovering the wonders of parsley-perejil

Spring is upon us thank God, with the ritual of daylight savings time already having it’s effect on my irregular sleeping schedule. Are you kidding me? One less hour of sleep. And where does the time go? It’s March 9th and to quote my Mama Lilia: Vamos rápido.

These past few weeks we have embarked on a remodeling effort at the house. Originally we thought it was going to take 2 weeks, pero cumpliendo con la 3era. Ley de Murphy (“Todo toma mas tiempo de lo que crees”) our little project is already at the 4 week mark, and we are ALMOST finished. I mean, they always say it takes 2 weeks para todo, verdad? But little did we know that a few surprises were going to pop up all over the place. We are redoing the kitchen, the most important room in the house, and it takes a BIG effort to maintain a happy household cuando la casa esta toda patas pa’arriba as you go through this process.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re pleased with the progress and the work by our paisano contractors, todo un team super eficiente, profesional y buena onda. Tan buena onda que hasta me trajeron un pastelito de cumpleaños last month. If you need some work done at your house, I’ll be happy to recommend.

But it takes some planning and “making do” to go through this project, especially for meals. The lesson I’ve learned is that eating take out can get old pretty quick, not to mention expensive and with limited healthy choices. Gracias a Dios que se nos ocurrió comprar un little portable griddle stove where we cook simple stuff. Every day I pretend que estoy jugando a la “cocinita” con mis “trastecitos” just to make it fun and not go bananas.

I also have a newfound love for sandwiches and have become quite creative. It’s been the easiest thing to make without a full service kitchen. Y me inspiré en la familia para hacerlosCuando visitan mi hermana la Romy y mi cuñado JoseLuis del DF hacen sus sandwiches para irse a dar la vuelta y llevar de snack. Si nomas le ponen mayo, ham and cheese entonces es un sandwich equis… sandwich sin amor. Pero si le ponen colorcito, con verduritas, quesito derretido, dressing y varios layers, it turns into an act of love y dicen, “Este es un Sandwich con Amor.”

With that in mind, I improvised some turkey burgers on oat nut bread last week, and on a split moment added an ingredient I am now obsessed with: Italian Parsley. The smell, the taste, the color! It must be in season because they have the most beautiful bunches at my local supermarket.

Besides being delicious, el perejil tiene medicinal qualities as well. You can eat a few leaves to help with indigestion and also add a leaves to boiling water for a few minutes to drink as a hot tea. (You can strain the leaves out to drink easily.) It helps detox the kidneys, they say, so go ahead and treat your body right. Maybe it’s the not the tastiest tea out there, but it’s good for you. So from now on it will always be present in our finally-soon to be ready-fabulous kitchen.

Here are a few pix of one of my new sandwich creations, which will be called “Sandwichito con Amor de Pavito con Perejil”.

Ya sé. Ya sé, it’s nothing new but thought I’d share in case you’re looking to add some variety to your herb collection. The recipe is there is no recipe, just tear up some fresh Italian Parsley leaves and mix into the ground turkey with salt (or salt substitute), pepper, oregano and garlic. And I mean tear up because nobody chops leaves, más que la Gwyneth P, and who has time to be perfect? Mi abue has been cooking all her life and  never once have I seen her chop any cilantro, ni perejil, ni orégano. Todo con las manos.

Anyway, have a great week everybody. Eat good food and take care.

I love Italian Parsley, my new favorite herb.

My new favorite herb is Italian Parsley. Just look at those big leaves full of flavor.

A few savory ingredients to add to your ground turkey. Liquid Aminos is a wonderful alternative to salt, tastes just like soy sauce, without all the sodium.

A few savory ingredients to add to your ground turkey. Liquid Aminos is a wonderful alternative to salt, tastes just like soy sauce.

Las tortitas de pavo cooking. I added parsley effusively then sparingly.

Cooking las tortitas de pavo, I added the parsley effusively, then sparingly.

Mis opened faced

Mis opened faced “Sandwich con Amor” before I joined both sides together, I added avocado, red onion, lettuce, tomato and mustard on OatNut bread. Quedaron ricos.

Italian Parsley bunch: add it to your grocery list.

Italian Parsley bunch: add it to your grocery list.

It’s Taco Tuesday. Now, some Psychobiology

Tacos are near and dear to my heart, therefore I’ve declared today is Taco Tuesday. Vamos a ver que tacos me invento for lunch.

Speaking of Tacos, Aaron Byrd and Michael Moss and the geniuses over at the New York Times have made a wonderful video infographic on the subject of Doritos Tacos at Taco Bell: “What’s In It: Doritos Locos Tacos.”

Now these are NOT tacos that I would recommend by any means. I have yet to taste them but after watching the video I don’t think I will. However, the process by which they were created and the effect they have on people is truly fascinating. 

In a nutshell, Doritos Locos Tacos are, according to the authors, a “marriage made in processed food heaven.” As they explain, the tacos are “engineered to target taste buds using the most powerful features known to manufacturers.” Basically they’re made up of a bunch of processed junk and fat, designed to make you want more. “Real power lies in what food scientist call Psychobiology: the study of how the brain reacts to stimuli.” 100 million Doritos Tacos sold in 10 weeks prove they’ve found a formula that works, and a market of “pretend taco” addicts.

In the video, I loved the simplicity of the graphics, the animation and the explanation- even though I wouldn’t be inclined to try these “tacos”. No siree Bob, not for me.

Para mi, the best tacos in the universe, en el mundo mundial, are located in one place and one place only: Mexicali, Baja California, México. That’s it! And if you want impressive numbers, I’m sure all the taqueros on the street and the finer, established taco joints will tell you they’ve sold Zillions and Zillions of tacos in their lifetime, no scientific or manufactured ingredients needed.

Just give me dos de asada, una cuata y “échale todo”.  That’s true Psychobiology for me. 

Here’s the link to the video from The New York Times. It’s worth a few minutes of your time and will definitely get you thinking.

What’s in It: Doritos Tacos Locos by Aaron Byrd and Michael Moss, New York Times, October 1, 2013.

Click on the image to take you to the video from the NY Times.

Click on the link above to take you to the video from the NY Times.

New word of the day: Psychobiology.

New word of the day: Psychobiology. (Clip from the NY Times)

Cooking with Bricia Lopez al estilo Guelaguetza @Macys

Bricia Lopez presented recipes from Guelaguetza Restaurant and inspired us to eat more comida oaxaqueña.

Bricia Lopez presented recipes from Guelaguetza Restaurant and inspired us to eat more comida oaxaqueña.

Do you love comida oaxaqueña? I do. The more I learn about Oaxaca, a beautiful state in México, the more I want to visit again.

Last Saturday, the lovely ladies from Macy’s Special Events hosted Bricia Lopez at their Macy’s Home Store in South Coast Plaza for a cooking demo. We learned 3 new recipes inspired by the famous Guelaguetza Restaurant owned by Bricia’s family in Los Angeles.

A nice crowd, mostly English speaking, turned out for the event, and we were all delighted with the dishes Bricia presented and taught us how to make.

A very attentive crowd showed up at Macy's Home Store, South Coast Plaza.

A very attentive crowd showed up at Macy’s Home Store, South Coast Plaza.

We had Red Mole-Black Bean Soup, Chileajo Tostadas, and Jamaica Mint Lemonade.  Se me hace agua la boca just by typing. Everything was delicious.  

Preparing the Red Mole-Black Bean Soup.

Preparing the Red Mole-Black Bean Soup.

Thank you Bricia and Macy’s for the recipes and the great event. Ya compré mis dos moles para aventarme unas recetas. 

And from what I heard from some of the people attending, yo creo que ya tenemos mas converts to authentic Mexican food en el OC, even if they have to travel up the 405 North to get to LA and find it. Mole is an exciting thing and definitely worth a trip to Guelaguetza. I’m glad people are expanding their horizons beyond the typical commercial stuff and willing to give it a try.

(DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored post, nor have I been compensated in any way, shape or form for my opinion by anyone mentioned here. I just happen to rave about the things/events that I love, especially if it involves good food.)

Next up, A Taste of Mexico, where Guelaguetza and many other Mexican restaurants will feature their cuisine for the ever expanding Angeleno fan base de la comida mexicana. It’s happening October 11 at La Plazita de la Cultura y Artes. You can find more info here on their website: A Taste of Mexico.

Can't wait to try out my Moles: Mole Negro y Mole Rojo from Guelaguetza.

Can’t wait to try out my Moles: Mole Negro y Mole Rojo from Guelaguetza.

I’m including  the recipe for the Red Mole Black Bean Soup, from Restaurante Guelaguetza. You can purchase their moles (several varieties) and visit their website at www.iLoveMole.com.

Red Mole- Black Bean Soup (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons grape seed or corn oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Guelaguetza Mole Rojo paste
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup Mexican sour cream
  • 1 tablesspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Tortilla strips (for garnish, optional)

Directions: In a medium bowl, stir in Guelaguetza Mole Rojo paste, apple cider vinegar, and about a 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. Stir with a spatula until the mole paste has fully dissolved. Reserve.

In a medium pot, put oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until fragrant, about a minute or two.

Stir in Guelaguetza Mole Rojo mix, vegetable broth, black beans and season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high. Once the soup has come to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low to simmer, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.

While the soup cooks, combine sour cream, coriander, salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Reserve for garnish.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and about 1 tablespoon of cold water, stir to combine.  After the soup has cooked for about 15 minutes, transfer 2 cups of it to  blender and add the cornstarch mixture. Puree until smooth. Return to pot. Cook, stirring until soup thickens, about 2 minutes.

Serve in bowls and garnish with the Coriander Crema. Top with tortilla strips if desired. ¡Provecho!

BRICIALOPEZ1

Libros y Movies en Español this weekend en DTLA: Hola Mexico Film Fest & LéaLA

This weekend sounds just like heaven with libros y películas en español happening all over Downtown LA.

Yes, the Hola Mexico Film Fest and LeaLA Feria del Libro en Español are finally here.

Which only begs the question, why did these two events decide to coincide the same weekend? Nos vamos a tener que dividir entre tantas cosas que queremos ver.

The HOLA MEXICO FILM FESTIVAL, now in its 5th year running, kicked off on May 15 and runs all through the weekend till Tuesday May 22nd. It’s a unique chance to see películas en español that would otherwise be hard to see here in LA. Nunca traen movies mexicanas a menos de que sea en este tipo de festivales. Pero ese es otro asunto.

So if you’re a movie fan, si te gustan las películas en español, el buen party y la gente cool, this is definitely something you need to check out.

This year they are also expanding to include food and music as part of the program, with Bricia López from La Guelaguetza leading the way and a number of visiting Mexican chefs, like Baja California favorite Javier Plascencia, from Mision 19 in TJ, who always delivers amazing, innovative dishes.

Check out the complete sked for the film fest on their website here. The venue is the Los Angeles Theater on Broadway.

Hola Mexico Film Fest

By the way, here’s a movie trailer that made me laugh and is part of the lineup this weekend. Maybe I’ll get a chance to see it. Se llama Suave Patria and it looks like the kind of slapstick dark comedy that’s easy to enjoy. Salen los televisos Adrian Uribe y Omar Chaparro y Héctor Suárez (yes that Hector Suárez, parece que ya regresó) so maybe it’s worth checking out.

As I mentioned recently, something not be missed this weekend is the Feria del Libro en Español de Los Angeles, LéaLA starts on Friday at the LA Convention Center in downtown y se organiza por la Universidad de Guadalajara. It runs through Sunday May 19.

Libros y mas libros en español, conferencias, pláticas y presentaciones. Todo GRATIS (my favorite price) y con algo para toda la familia.

Screen shot 2013-05-16 at 10.06.19 PM

Check out the program here and go support authors and publishing houses, libros en español que otherwise we would never have a chance to buy here.

Books and films this weekend, people. Truly my cup of tea.

La Gwyneth here, la Gwyneth there, la Gwyneth everywhere.

She's everywhere these days.

She’s everywhere these days.


Bueno, it had to happen sooner or later.

My dysfunctional love/hate relationship con la Gwyneth Paltrow has reached new heights. I really don’t know how to help myself…Somebody stop me from buying/consuming all the magazines and books where my nemesis slash bff Gwyneth is on the cover, por favor.

This month was particularly bad. She was voted the World’s Most Beautiful Woman on the cover of People so there I go and ahí te van 5 dólares. I wouldn’t go THAT far as to say she is the world’s most beautiful woman, pero who cares I bought it anyway. She had another cover this May for Harper’s Bazaar, so there go another 5 pesitos. And I finally found her new book at Costco and succumbed to it. Lo veia en el Barnes & Noble pero me dolía el codo pagar los 32 bucks, so I just waited for the $17.69 deal at Costco.

I’ve subscribed to her goop.com ever since she started it, I think she’s the celebrity I’ve mentioned most on this blog, I follow her on Twitter, la veo en el Hola, me sé toda su vida, o sea, in a nutshell, soy su groupie.

And yet, when I see her on TV, when she’s giving an interview with her snobby upscale vocabulary, cuando parece que she’s perfect and makes you feel somewhat inadequate for not being all perfect all the time, or when she’s wearing those weird see through dresses like at the recent premier for IronMan, de veras que my inner voice says, Urgh! No te aguanto. Ya bájale Gwyneth. No manches.

A dichotomy indeed.

Pero no me considero de los multiples haters que tiene en la vida (hay muchos que la detestan), ni tampoco me atrevería a dejarle un negative comment en su blog.

Most of the time, I’ll admit that she does inspire me, she does make me want to be a better cook and a healthier person. Like the time she said that the Vitamix would change your life and I believed her. (Yes, I bought it, and yes it has, and now I can’t live without it.)

Her new cookbook is a beautiful set of photos and recipes that I’m reading (and enjoying) cover to cover. Just by looking at the pictures I feel good, like I want to try them all and host a party or something. Tiene muy buen gusto, I’ll give her that. All the images are gorgeous, the fonts and the design are simple, the colors are bright. Está muy padre el libro. 

I can’t post any of the images from the book because of her very clearly written copyright notice de que pobre de nosotros si hacemos upload anything in the book without her permission. No quería poner ninguna receta sin permiso, of course. I do have a queja, though: hay una receta que le llama EASY POSOLE. With an S.  

Ahi si me dieron ganas de escribirle y decirle que where I come from, el POZOLE se escribe con Z. It’s POZOLE! Y que lleva some sort of meat. (She does a meatless easy “posole” with hominy y dice que le puedes poner rabanitos y aguacate to garnish it.)

So if you want to check the book out, vayan a la Costco to get a better deal. And if you’re like me, on Thursday you’ll be reading her latest installment on goop.com, a ver con que nos sale ahora. I’m not even a Mommy blogger and I want to get everything she recommends for the kids! I don’t have a superstar budget and I’m browsing through all her exclusive Goop fashion designer selections as if I were going to buy. Te digo, no tengo remedio.

Read my past posts mentioning La Gwyneth aquí en los links.

La Gwyneth ya bloggea en español (11 June 2009)

Cookbooks Galore (13 April 2010)

Joining the Vitamix Lovers of America (27 Sept 2012)

Spring Cleaning part 1: The editing process (18 April 2013)

Supermarket roundup: Comprando Cheesy Kale Chips

Monday is usually the day when I do my supermarket roundups and get ready for weekly meals. Today I had an AHA! Moment when I came across the Kale Chips at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Have you heard? The ubiquitous Kale is like the newest superfood of the moment, the flavor of the month, and just about the “bee’s knees” right now when it comes to healthy eating and health benefits. Everybody has a recipe, every restaurant in town (hi-lo, you name it) has added it to their menu. Oprah loves it, Dr. Oz loves it, la Gwyneth loves it… you get the idea. It’s been around forever, but now you can pretty much find it prominently displayed at your local supermarket.

So of course the natural thing is for it to start evolving into snack friendly stuff, like cheesy Kale Chips. They may not ever be able to replace our addiction to las potato chips (I swear Sabritas has it right when they say ‘A que no puedes comer sólo una’) or to those Cheetos things, but being the culinary curious person that I am, pues I decided to conduct my very own non-scientific taste test.

Ahi les va el DISCLOSURE statement (God I hate doing this! but I will comply) pa’ que luego no anden diciendo que no soy totally transparent al respecto: This blog post is made totally on behalf of my very ‘exigente’ palate and taste buds. I shop frequently at Whole Foods (probably more than I should) and Trader Joe’s (because who doesn’t?) and Big Saver (porque son buenos bonitos y baratos) and have not been compensated in any way, shape or form by any of these companies for my very humble opinion.

The two items selected are the Alive and Radiant “Kale Krunch” at Whole Foods and the Trader Joe’s cheesy Kale Chips (Zesty Nacho).

Kale Chips side by side

While technically it’s the same product, the Whole Foods Alive & Radiant Kale Krunch will run you about a buck more in price, although it is .2 ounces bigger, so it says on the bag.

However, if I were choosing one just based on the design, I would immediately reach for the Trader Joe’s bag, if only because of the cool, comic book inspired look and feel of the package. But we’re not going on looks alone, so I opened each bag and tried them.

Cheesy Jale Chips side to side

The Kale Krunch (Whole Foods) looks much cheesier and brighter, while the Trader Joe’s chips look more “kale-like” and darker green.

I tried the Trader Joe’s first and found them interesting, crunchy and salty. Not bad, although think it left a little bit of a vinegar aftertaste, something not quite cheesy, not a bad aftertaste but just something that lingered a little bit. Then I drank water (to cleanse the palate, muy scientific, según yo) and then I tried the Kale Krunch, which was a bit more flavorful, cheesy and had a nutty aftertaste which I liked. They were equally as crunchy, quite good.

A look at the nutritional values makes for relevant “food for thought” as the Kale Krunch has less calories (100 per serving) and fat, por muy poquito.

Nutritional Values chart for Kale Krunch at Whole Foods.

Nutritional Values chart for Kale Krunch at Whole Foods.

Nutritional Values chart for Trader Joe's Kale Chips.

Nutritional Values chart for Trader Joe’s Kale Chips.

So my verdict is: Both are good snack options depending on taste and budget. If you have 5 bucks for a relatively small bag (2.2 oz is not that plentiful, it can go by in a quick sitting) I would go for the Whole Foods Kale Krunch. But the Trader Joe’s are good too, nomás que no me encantaron, pero they’ll do the trick for a snack if you want to calm down your me quiero atragantar una bolsa de papitas ahorita moment…

All in all I was quite surprised that these brands could come up with an alternative to the potato chip bag with a veggie that nobody cared about a few years ago. So with that in mind, maybe I should try my own Kale Chip recipe, a ver que invento.

Of course, then I stop by Big Saver, where the prices are good and the veggies are fresh (that should be their new slogan) and get a bunch of fresh Kale, which only sets me back a whopping $0.79 cents! Not bad at all, huh?

(Y por favor, ALGUIEN ME PUEDE DECIR ¿Cómo se dice KALE en español? Google translate no me convence con su ‘col rizada’.)

Kale price

Fresh Kale at Big Saver Market retails for 79 cents.

Fresh Kale at Big Saver Market retails for 79 cents.

Anthony Bourdain and Roy Choi talk “Guts and Glory”

Fans of Anthony Bourdain are a unique breed and I count myself among them. We absolutely adore the man and in our eyes he can do no wrong. Period.

Our favorite chef/writer was in town this week for a sold out presentation at the Pantages in Hollywood, where he shared the stage with our very own LA homeboy and the man behind the Kogi taco trucks, Roy Choi. (Gracias a la Karlita B. and Alejandra for the invite and to Lucia for coming with.)

“Guts and Glory” was the theme and it was a fascinating two hour conversation, interview style, con cada quien haciéndose preguntas from their own list. The main topic was food, of course, but it went far beyond that and turned into a great analysis of what’s going on today in our lifestyle, our culture, our worship of all things food related, business practices, good versus evil, celebrity chefs, and even racism in restaurants. De todo un poco!

The poster from the event.

The poster from the event.

Both guys are passionate about their stuff. Tony Bourdain was his usual, badass self when talking about McDonald’s and the other fast food chains, and how much he despises the fact that KFC now offers “boneless chicken wings” just to make it easier for the younger generations to eat the wings. “What does this say about us as a nation?!” The man is not shy about sharing his opinion, and when asked about his nemesis, la Paula Dean, he did not back off from his earlier controversial statements about her being the “worst person in America.” Yep, it’s pretty clear he still can’t stand her. As for Rachel Ray, he said they’ve made their peace and told everyone why he “can not dislike this woman.” (Se lo ganó la Rachel con un roast en donde ella le hizo unos comentarios un poco crudos that I can’t repeat here.)

But for me the real surprise was how close Bourdain and Roy Choi have become, even saying about Roy “he’s my brother from another mother.” Tony mentioned he was publishing Roy’s upcoming book and was extremely concerned when Roy became a vegetarian last year. “Are you OK?” he emailed him. Roy was charming, humble, honest and seems to be a really good person, concerned with the way his waiters and cooks are treated and even suggesting that homeless people be served at restaurants. (“Never gonna happen,” said Bourdain. “It’s still has to be a business.”) Me dio la impresión que el Roy es ‘paisa,’ ya saben como… buena onda, chistoso y muy chambeador.

Pantages-AnthonyBourdain

When it was turn for the audience’s Q&A, most questions for Tony were related to his new show, to his travels and to what he eats. When asked what his favorite restaurants in LA were, he mentioned a few, but remember him listing Son of a Gun, Mozza (from his buddy Mario Batali) and of course, In N Out Burger. You can’t go wrong with that. For his last meal, he’s changed it from the tuétano-bone marrow he loves to Jiro’s Sushi in Japan (I recently saw the documentary and it is wonderful!)

As for “Parts Unknown,” his new show on CNN, he says he has a new list of places he wants to visit and has the green light from the network to go anywhere he wants. If things work out and the production is secured, one of the places he’ll visit is Iran, since he wants to go eat the rice there, which he says is amazing. Roy then added that he now wanted to tag along. (Nomás que tengan mucho cuidado.)

Of course they also plugged this Sunday’s show where Bourdain comes to LA again, but now it’s to Koreatown, or the hidden part of LA as he calls it. Looks like it’s going to be an interesting show since both guys have a good dynamic and Korean food is delish.

One of my favorite moments from the night was when someone asked Bourdain why anyone should travel and see the world. His answer was very simple and very heartfelt. “It just makes you a better person, to see the world, walk in someone else’s shoes. I can’t recommend it enough.” 

Come back to visit us soon Tony Bourdain! We love you.

Anthony Bourdain and Roy Choi and their K-Town adventures air this Sunday on CNN at 9pm. (Photo from the on-air tv promo.)

Anthony Bourdain and Roy Choi and their K-Town adventures air this Sunday on CNN at 9pm. (Photo from on-air TV promo.)

Yeah. We'll be watching. (Photo from on-air TV promo.)

Yeah. We’ll be watching. (Photo from on-air TV promo.)