Recipes

Raw Brussels Sprout Salad recipe with red onion, apples, walnuts, and a maple-Sriracha vinaigrette

Recipe: Raw Brussels Sprout Salad with Sriracha-Maple Vinaigrette

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Raw Brussels Sprout Salad recipe with red onion, apples, walnuts, and a maple-Sriracha vinaigrette

Last week, I headed over to the Studio City Farmers Market to pick up some organic produce for a video shoot I was doing at my friends’ house as part of an oral history project for the Chinese American Museum‘s newest exhibit, “L.A. Heat: Taste-Changing Condiments“, which focuses on art inspired by Sriracha and Tapatio, two divine hot sauces made right here in Los Angeles. (I’m honored to be on the advisory board for this exhibit, which runs now through July 12!)

The videographers asked if there was somewhere we could go that inspired me, and I immediately suggested we head to the farmers market. Walking in with no real idea of what I was going to make—other than knowing I’d be using Sriracha in my recipe—I was struck by the beauty of these purple Brussels sprouts. I’d never tasted them before, let alone seen them! The kind woman at the produce stand told me they were similar in taste to regular Brussels sprouts, but with a slightly sweet note. With that, I couldn’t wait to try them!

Raw green and purple Brussels sprouts

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Recipe: Roasted Leek, Asparagus & Sunchokes with Sun-Dried Tomato & Rosemary Millet "Polenta"

Roasted Leek, Asparagus, and Sunchokes with Sun-Dried Tomato & Rosemary Millet “Polenta”

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Recipe: Roasted Leek, Asparagus & Sunchokes with Sun-Dried Tomato & Rosemary Millet "Polenta"

Another week, another successful trip to the Downtown Glendale Farmers Market! Not only did I find plenty of inspiration in the fresh, local, organic produce on display, I also discovered some varieties of produce I’d never seen before, like Shunkyo semi-long radishes, AND I found a grower with organic passionfruit, macadamia nuts, and cherimoya!

Organic asparagus spears from the farmers market

But what really called to me this week was the fat stems of asparagus I saw standing regally in shallow pans of water. I grabbed a small bunch, scooped up a leek, and a big handful of handsome sunchokes in the hopes that I could make an interesting soup. But once I got home, I wanted to be a little more adventurous than that. I don’t play with sunchokes too much; I usually just throw a raw one into my green juices, but I’ve been wanting to roast some for a while now. They get a wonderfully hearty flavor redolent of artichokes, which is why you may also find them labeled as Jerusalem artichokes at the market. (more…)

Indian-Spiced Butternut Squash recipe (Photo courtesy The Perfect Pantry)

Marrying Cooking With Music, Thanks to Spotify & Geotunes

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It’s no secret that I’m super into food and cooking, but not too many people know that I’ve got a very deep love for music as well. Cooking gets me thinking, but music… music gets me feeling. I’ve gotten in a rut recently. Not an emotional one, mind you, but a creative one. I’d been making a lot of my favorite dishes over and over again, and playing all my usual playlists ad nauseam. But, I gotta give a monster shout-out to the app Spotify for introducing me to all kinds of songs and artists I’ve never heard—or often even heard of—through its “Radio” and “Discover” features, not to mention the countless recommendations friends have sent to me via a collaborative playlist or through the in-app messaging system. And now, I’ve discovered another really cool tool within Spotify that’s not only gotten me even more excited about finding new music… it’s also gotten me excited about cooking new dishes.

It’s called Geotunes, and its purpose is to help people “locate and listen to songs written about cities, landmarks, events and more using a giant interactive map as your musical playground.” My buddy Tim Herscovitch is actually the one who introduced me to it; he’s been working as the Interactive Content Lead on it and suggested I could use it to put together themed playlists for when I’m cooking a dish from a particular region for friends. After Tim gave me a quick little tour of the Geotunes app within Spotify—all of which is free to use by the way—I felt inspired to start listening to music from some of the countries with my favorite foods. I clicked on India and set it on shuffle for a while and got to dreaming about what I wanted to make.

Sure, I could pop in some Ravi Shankar while whipping up some chana masala, but I like that Geotunes doesn’t just find music from your selected city/region/country, it finds songs that are about your chosen location. Sure, they aren’t all going to be to your liking since it spans all genres, but you’re able to isolate the songs you like on your own playlist and skip those you don’t enjoy. And every so often, you come across a little stylized “g” (the Geotunes icon: "g") next to a track, which lets you know there’s some bonus information about it and how it ties into your place of interest.

Now then, about India. I’ve got my Spotify account and I’ve downloaded Geotunes on my desktop… so what food do I want to make now? Here are a few of my favorite Indian recipes that I think would be GREAT to cook alongside the Geotunes India playlist on shuffle:

Indian Spiced Butternut Squash slow cooker recipe | vegan & gluten-freeSlow Cooker Indian-Spiced Butternut Squash recipe

This recipe is straight out of Anupy Singla’s celebrated cookbook, The Indian Slow Cooker. It uses quite a little list of different spices, but that tends to be the nature of the beast when you’re dealing with Indian cuisine. Seriously, this just screams comfort food to me. Bonus that it’s vegan and gluten-free! (Photo & recipe via The Perfect Pantry)

Sample track I liked from the “Geotunes: India” playlist — “India Pindia”, by Tøyen

 

Jeweled Kitchari Recipe (photo courtesy The Vegenista)Jeweled Kitchari recipe

My good friend Melissa, the mastermind behind one of my favorite blogs, has been on a roll lately with her delicious ayurvedic-inspired recipes and this latest one of hers looks no different. Chock full of mung dal (split mung beans), beets, beet greens, and basmati rice, I’m getting hungry all over again just looking at her beautiful picture.

This kitchari recipe is vegetarian, but can easily be made vegan by using coconut oil in place of the ghee (clarified butter) that’s called for. Bonus that it’s also gluten-free!

(Photo & recipe via Vegenista)

Sample track I liked from the “Geotunes: India” playlist — “Hunting Tigers Out In India”, by Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band

 

Indian Spiced Tomato Gratin recipe | 101 CookbooksSpiced Tomato Gratin recipe

I love Heidi Swanson’s original recipes and her wonderful cookbooks, but I really love when she tweaks other people’s dishes. Here, she transforms chef Suzanne Goin’s potato-tomato gratin simply—by using curry in place of thyme.

Vegans: Feel free to use coconut oil instead of butter and unsweetened coconut milk for the cream. (Photo & recipe via 101 Cookbooks)

Sample track I liked from the “Geotunes: India” playlist — “India Sleeping”, by Mars

 

I’ll be putting some more of these cooking and music posts up in the coming weeks, since I think it’s kind of a neat idea. Any cuisines in particular you’d like to see? Leave a note in the comments section or hit me on Twitter: @RandyClemensEsq. Hope you’ve gotten inspired too!

Raw Celery Root & Beet Noodles with Beet Green & Pistachio Pesto

Raw Celery Root & Beet Noodles with Pistachio-Beet Green Pesto

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Raw Celery Root & Beet Noodles with Pistachio-Beet Green PestoFor months now, I’ve been talking about going to the farmers market to buy some local, seasonal, organic vegetables and coming up with a spontaneous recipe that utilized my haul. But I’ve been procrastinating big time, and one of my excuses was that the my nearest farmers market didn’t have ANY organic farmers present. So here I am walking to Whole Foods Market instead and I see a poster announcing that the Downtown Glendale Market had just moved to a new location with a whole bunch of organic growers! (Bonus points that Carole Gallegos is the new market manager; I used to love chatting with her and shopping at the Studio City Farmers Market when she was there.) (more…)

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DIY All-Natural Carpet Refresher

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Baking soda & organic essential oils make an excellent, inexpensive DIY carpet refresher and deodorizer.

Baking soda & organic essential oils make an excellent, inexpensive DIY carpet refresher and deodorizer.

Hello and welcome to the softer side of Randy. If, like myself, you find yourself on the hunt for ways to keep your house smelling fresh, you may have purchased carpet refreshers or carpet deodorizers in the past. Simple enough, they’re powders that you sprinkle onto your carpet before vacuuming to absorb odors and leave a nice, pleasant scent behind.

But what exactly is in them? I don’t know. My guess is that it’s some scientist’s cocktail of somewhat natural and obviously artificial ingredients that I don’t want lingering around my abode and getting into my lungs. (If you’ve got pets or small children running around, I’d be doubly concerned.) The good news is that there’s a cheap, easy alternative that was so brilliant, I had to share.

What you need:

  • Baking soda
  • Organic essential oils

Yes, that’s seriously it. I took one box of baking soda, dumped it out into a mixing bowl, added 30 drops of organic bergamot essential oils, stirred it around to equally distribute it and break up any clumps, then returned it to the box. Now, I’ll sprinkle the mixture over my carpet, let it sit for 15 minutes to absorb any odors, and then run the vacuum to sweep it all up. Fresh scent, no foul chemicals… done and done!

And it’s far less expensive than buying the pre-made stuff! Yes, the essential oils will set you back anywhere from $9 to $12, but a little goes a long way and you’ll have plenty leftover for more boxes of baking soda, to add to your bath, or for a whole lot of other interesting uses. I chose bergamot, which is an excellent deodorizer and one of my favorite scents (bergamot is the added flavoring in Earl Grey tea and it’s used widely in the cologne industry) but you can certainly use whatever essential oil or blend of essential oils you like.

All the kudos for this brilliant idea go to OverthrowMartha.com. There’s also a tutorial there for how to make your own shaker using an old mason jar, some paper, and a hole cutter should you want to get a little fancier than my ghetto “toss it back in the baking soda box” method.

Now that I’ve gotten this domestic bliss and essential oil talk out of the way, I feel like I should go crack a beer or something. Maybe put a monster truck rally on TV…

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