Welcome to Middle Eastern Mezze Cooking Class with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Ambassador– Moi! Chef Lisa Walker!

If you’re a kid, between the ages of eight and fourteen, and want to get your knife skills on, join our Food Revolution Day, Saturday, May 27 for a morning of Middle Eastern Cooking! We will be creating a vegetarian menu of Mezze! What is Mezze? Small, vibrant first courses of hummus, tabouli, babaganouj, cheeses, and toasted pita. The class is hands on, so bring your favorite apron, some comfortable shoes and be ready to get choppin’ in the professional culinary school kitchen at St. Joseph Center, Venice. Sponsored by Gelson’s!

img_2765

What is the Food Revolution, and what is an ambassador of the Food Revolution with Jamie Oliver??? Well, Jamie Oliver created a worldwide movement, through social media, to transform the way children experience food. The goal– to teach nutrition and healthy eating by teaching kids how to cook the foods they love! It’s a simple answer to a larger problem. At a time when so many of us are disconnected from where our food comes from and what it is, getting in the kitchen and making food is a very simple way to connect and enjoy food. We believe that knowing how to cook creates a happy, healthier life. And getting kids in the kitchen at a young age is the best time to start their culinary lives!

Ambassadors, such as myself, volunteer our time to create cooking events, panel discussions, cooking classes, cooking demos, and sometimes even food policy. It’s a Food Revolution! Let’s cook!

Date: May 27, 2017

Time: 10:00 AM- 1:00 PM

Where: St. Joseph Culinary Center, 204 Hampton Drive, Venice, CA. 90291

Bring: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Bring an apron if you have one. Wear a chefs coat if you have one! And bring a favorite knife, if you have one.

Parents: Feel free to leave your children or relax on the outside patio.

Donations: Write a check to St. Joseph Culinary Training Program, if you are feeling generous. All proceeds go to creating a cookbook library for the Culinary Training Program–CTP*

BOOKING! (310)866-7685 and email stovetopped@mac.com 

Limited seats!

*CTP is the only non-profit culinary school in the United States with the goal of changing the lives of those in need of a better future.



Advertisements

Bread Pudding for the Masses– With Apricots, Dates and Pistachio Crumble

I know a little something about puddings. My father is from England, and I grew up devouring them on our trips to Southampton to visit my grandparents, Peter and Dorothy Walker. Oh, the memories! Grandma Walker’s steaming Christmas pudding with cream; her pound cake layered trifle with custard and jam, were especially good. Not to mention her chilled summer puddings– slices of pullman bread soaked with fresh, juicy berries, molded into bright beautiful domes; sometimes served with cold pouring cream… Oh, how I love puddings! How many times can I say pudding???

And British bread pudding is right up there with the best of them.

Well, this pud, as the Brits say, was a reflex of resourcefulness. A loaf of egg bread was left for dead in my kitchen from a favorite Jewish deli in Beverly Hills– Nate and Al’s! And to have stuffed it in a freezer seemed wrong. So, in the spirit of the moment, I searched my pantry and found Turkish apricots, the best of their kind, California dates from our farmers market, the best, too, vanilla from Tahiti, you know what I’m saying, and a bag of toasted pistachios from the Middle East, you get the picture. And out of somewhere, we know where, this bread pudding seemed to be a united response to the times!

You see, the Nation’s protests have continued, and even grown worldwide. And England, the fine country that it is, stands alongside us in protest, in the name of social equality for all. The world united, will never be divided!  We chant. Because let’s be honest. It’s all we can think about…

So, I made what is to me a British sentiment– bread pudding, studded with apricots and dates, and topped with a pistachio crunch. This pud is my small thank you to all you Brits out there, making us proud… XO

Bread Pudding with Apricots, Dates and Pistachio Crumble

This is what democracy looks like! ; )

Ingredients

3 Cup of Cubed Egg Bread or similar kind– White Bread or Brioche

2 Cups Granulated Sugar

5  Large Eggs- beaten

2 Cups of unsweetened Almond Milk

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Large Handful of Turkish Apricots

Large Handful of Pitted Dates

1 Tsp Orange Zest- optional

Pinch of Kosher Salt

1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar

1/2 Stick Salted Butter, softened– if unsalted add a 1/4 tsp

1 Cup Shelled, Toasted Pistachio

Method

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a deep dish pan. 9X9 is what I used.

Cube your bread into a large dice and put in a large mixing bowl. Chop apricots and dates and add to cubed bread.

Make your custard: combine eggs, almond milk, sugar, vanilla, orange zest and a pinch of salt. Pour over cubed bread and let let soak for 10 minutes.

Chop the pistachios.

Combine the softened butter, brown sugar and pistachios and mix until well combined– wet and crumbly.

Pour the soaked bread mixture into the buttered deep dish and evenly sprinkle the brown sugar crumble over the top.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40- 50 minutes.

Enjoy hot out of the oven with cold pouring cream or scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Love not hate. Makes America great! And makes great puds too!

Cube, dice and chop …

Marry your wet ingredients: eggs, almond milk, sugar, vanilla, orange zest…

Marry your dry ingredients: bread, dried fruits…

Combine…

Soak… ten minutes…

Crumble nuts and brown sugar with soft butter… and, pour pudding into buttered pan and cover with crumble… Set your timer and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes…

Almost ready. I like it dark and heaving out of the oven. You’ll see…

After it heaves like a soufflé, it rests…

What a slice… This is what democracy should look like!

“Collards” and Hot Pepper Sauce For the King

Edit

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and as I write the menu for my clients this morning I am distracted by the incredible history of this nation; in particular, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in 1963. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech– I Have a Dream to “make real the promises of democracy” are as important and profound today as they were then…

On a day as meaningful as this, making a favorite food of Martin Luther King’s feel right– and sounds delicious. Southern food is steeped in America herself; a multitude of cultures and tastes stewing together in life’s big, messy ‘melting pot’.

Martin Luther King Jr. was from the South and loved Southern food, his favorites– pecan pie, fried chicken, candied sweet potatoes, and collard greens.

Let’s cook some collards!

“Collards” and Hot Pepper Sauce for the King

Ingredients

2 Bunches of Collard Greens

1 Large Sweet Onion

4 Garlic Cloves

1 Cup Chicken Broth

1/8 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tsp Sugar

1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika

2 Tbs Olive Oil

Equipment

1 Large Pot

1 Stovetop

Let’s go!

Wash your collard greens of all sand and grit by giving them a good soak in a bath of cold water, at least 10 minutes. Next, spread them on a kitchen towel to dry.

Remove the ribs (the center of the leaves) with a knife, or by hand. Stack the leaves and roll into giant cigar shapes and slice crosswise into fat ribbons (otherwise known as chiffonade, in French cooking). Cut crosswise into 2 inch pieces.

They should look like this!

Next– thinly slice your onion and toss into a large pot with the collard greens.

Add paprika, sugar, cider vinegar, chicken broth, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and put a lid on it.

Turn the flame to medium-low and set your timer to 10 minutes.

Stir your greens.

Set your timer to another 10 minutes

Stir your greens.

No, big deal if you get a little color on the bottom of the pan. It’s actually pretty good for color and flavor.

Hot Pepper Sauce!

Hot Pepper Sauce does one thing– brightens up any dish and pairs very well with stewed greens. The piquant vinegar and tender, spicy peppers spoon beautifully over “Collards”.

Ingredients

2 Jalapeños

1 Tsp-Tbs Chili Flakes (how hot do you want it?!)

1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tsp Sugar

1 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Olive Oil

Equipment

Small pot

Here’s how!

Wash and dry peppers and slice thin. Measure remaining ingredients and add everything to a small, stainless steel pot. Bring all of it to a simmer for 5 MINUTES and let cool. And you’re done.

Store in a jar for a couple of weeks and spoon over grilled and roasted meats and fish, or as condiment for fried rice (YUM). Oh, but they’re won’t be any left!

Potato Leek and Fennel Soup with Cider Vin and Hard Boiled Egg

I make soup in the shower. It’s not weird, just necessary, and I’m sure many of you can relate. When you’re out of time, you make time. And when you need soup, you make soup. A few chopped vegetables, in this case, leeks, onion, and fennel, in a pot of chicken stock with a few small potatoes, a hop in the shower, and you are toweling-off to lunch made. Here’s how.

Potato Leek and Fennel Soup with Cider Vin and Hard Boiled Egg

Ingredients — Soup for One with Leftovers

1 Leek, split lengthwise and soaked/rinsed of sand and dirt

1/2 White Onion

1/2 Fennel Bulb

2 Fennel Fronds, from the top of the fennel bulb

3 Small Potatoes, Fingerling is what I used but any potato chopped to small will suffice

2 Cups of Chicken Broth, store bought is fine

1 Tbs Cider Vinegar

1 Hard Boiled Egg, optional, but really great with the soup

Note— This recipe works best with a two-quart heavy bottomed pot with a lid. A lid is necessary.

Another Note— Using half a fennel bulb and onion sounds wasteful. I tossed the fennel into an arugula salad with parmesan. Don’t waste it. The onion can be used for anything. Or, if feeling brave, add the whole onion and whole fennel bulb, and make your own recipe.

Method and Timing

Thinly slice the leek (mostly the lighter parts), onion and fennel and add to a small pot of chicken stock. Add small potatoes, or potato chunks, and season with salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Add the fennel fronds and turn the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid, careful to leave the lid ajar. Heat your shower and get in. In California, we are in a drought so showers here are short and quick, but you won’t say anything if I take a few extra minutes, will you. I approximate my shower and dressing time to be about 15-20 minutes depending upon how late I am writing blogs. Check your soup when you get out. It may have spit on your stovetop, but no big deal, wipe off your stove and give the soup a stir adding a tablespoon of cider vinegar. Taste for seasoning, again, and ladle into a jar, or something with a tight lid, to get it to where you are going. Slice the hard boiled egg and lace the slices atop the soup and put a lid on it. Now, get to work.

 

 

 

 

 

Black-Eyed Peas for a Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

So many of you requested this recipe after posting it on Instagram, January 1st, 2017, I decided to make a quick recipe for you. Having made it in the moment, without any notation of measurements, I can only guide you in what I remember to have done. What I can tell you is that I omitted the smokey ham hock (j’adore) for a healthier version for my clients. The addition of spinach was only because I didn’t buy collards (j’ad0re again!). When I can go healthy I do, and there is rarely the sense that something is missing. In fact, they, and I, prefer the approach on many levels. Check it out and keep me posted. Feed back is awesome.

Please Pardon typos as I am running to work soon!

XO,

Stovetopped

Let’s go…

Black-Eyed Peas and Spinach with Smokey Paprika

Ingredients

4 cups of fresh black-eyed peas (ask your produce person) OR 1 16 oz bag of dried beans

1 tsp Baking Soda

Spinach Leaves cleaned and washed ( I used a half a box of washed baby spinach)

4 Cups of homemade chicken stock (store bought will work fine)

1 large White Onion dices

2 large Garlic Cloves sliced, crushed or chopped, you decide

2 Tbs Olive oil

1 Tbs Smoked Paprika

Kosher Salt and fresh cracked Black Pepper

At the stovetop…

If you have fresh beans cook them in fresh water with 1 teaspoon of baking SODA until just barely tender, but not falling apart. Low to medium heat, about 10-15 minutes.

If you have dried beans you must hot-soak them (beans covered in water, bring to a boil, rest one hour, strain). OR soak over night, and strain. The goal is to reconstitute the bean (bring it back to life) and remove some of its gasses. 

Next, soaked beans are covered with fresh, cold water and brought to a boil with baking soda, and cooked until tender. I believe this should take about 30-45 minutes. Keep an eye them, as the goal is to make them tender, not falling apart.

Sautee the onion and garlic in a large heavy bottomed pot with the olive oil until translucent (a few minutes) and season with paprika, salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock, the beans and the spinach and on low heat for about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender, and golden from the paprika, and the spinach is dark and silky. Season with salt and pepper and your done! Also, very good with some tabasco or hot sauce!

ENJOY!

Oh, and a little jam session by Dave Sparrow, Tommy from Crash and Chris Duskin… Happy New Year, indeed!

 

Peppered Beef Tenderloin

What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?

William Shakespeare

Oh, Shakespeare and his rhetorical questions… I say:

Spend a small fortune and make Peppered Beef Tenderloin!

Peppered Beef Tenderloin may seem far too simple to require a recipe, but it does. In fact, it requires hand-crushed Tellicherry peppercorns, well-balanced seasoning, a well-timed rest, and paper-thin slices to get the beauty out of this pricey, tender cut of beef… Trust me.

Ingredients

1 pound Prime Beef Tenderloin

2 Tbs Whole Tellicherry Peppercorns

2 Tbs Kosher Salt

2 Glugs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Equipment

1 Sheet Parchment Paper

1 Small, Heavy Bottomed Pot or Skillet

1 Baking Sheet

Sturdy Cutting Board

Sharp Knife

Let’s go

First, Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Next, get comfortable with your butcher. Explain that you are looking for a one pound roast; a center-cut of Prime Beef Tenderloin (you must purchase Prime). Tell them you are roasting it and need even-cooking throughout the loin. Request a clean “peeled” loin, with all fat and silver skin removed (unless you plan to do it yourself). Don’t forget to smile. Butchers love a smile and rarely get one… (you’re welcome, guys!).

Tellicherry are unique for one reason only– they are the largest of the peppercorns. And being that the larger peppercorns are fewer than the smaller peppercorns, they are prized for their availability. They work great for a hand-crushed preparation like this, because they crush beautifully. You can buy them at Costco. 

How To Crush Peppercorns

Make a small handful of dried peppercorns, about two tablespoons, and carefully lay them flat and close together on a clean cutting board.

With the bottom of a small heavy skillet or pot, apply pressure to the peppercorns, trying not to lose any. This step can be difficult but DO NOT GIVE UP! This, after all, is the fun part. And the very reason it tastes sublime. No substitutions! Sorry for yelling…

Continue to apply force and slowly push the pan away from you, crushing the pepper. You will hear and feel small bursts of pepper. Keep it up. You will find your groove. Crush until they are beautifully uneven, colorful and fragrant.

Combine the crushed pepper and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Line your baking tray with parchment.

Rub the olive oil all over the tenderloin.

Spread the salt and pepper mixture on the cutting board.

Roll the tenderloin in the salt and pepper mixture being sure to coat it evenly.

One pound Beef Tenderloin and whole, deboned Turkey Breast ready for the oven…

Place the tenderloin on the parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

The beef should spring back when squeezed. Depending on your oven, it could need an additional 2-5 minutes– set your timer! In other words, utilize your smart phone timer and pay close attention.

Let him rest… until room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Slice paper-thin and serve as charcuterie with accoutrements of pickles, mustards, horseradish, olives, relishes, whatever turns you on.

Charcuterie spread…

Or, sliced thin and laced over arugula dressed with lemon, olive oil, crunchy salt and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.


Persimmon Silver Dollar Protein Pancakes 

Reader:

What the hell is a Protein Pancake???

Me:

Well…

For the record I am a real chef. A trained chef trained to make pancakes with flour, eggs and milk, like everyone else. However, as of late, I have been brainwashed by the Beverly Hills society I cook for. Alright, an exaggeration, but I have found myself adopting some of their trends, such as judging juice bars (who cares???) And more importantly, making Protein Pancakes. As much as grading juice bars does not matter, what matters to me are the weird and wonderful trends that make sense in my kitchen and, to be frank, shrink midsection muffin-tops. Shall we begin?

Protein Pancakes are so ubiquitous, if ubiquitous can even be so, that if you go on Pinterest this very moment, you can scroll through hundreds of variations for ten minutes. That’s the level of popularity they are having. And the current favorite in Beverly Hills is the Banana Protein Pancake. Every tweenager in the #BH is begging their housekeeper and chef to save the ripe bananas for them. The uglier, the better. In fact, I have been stockpiling bananas and organic farm fresh eggs for the past six months. Low on calories and high on protein and nutrients they are perfect for post-workout breakfast. Here are the three ingredients in what I will now refer to as the Beverly Hills Banana Protein Pancake:

  1. 1 Very Ripe Banana
  2. 1 Egg
  3. 1/4 Cup Rolled Oats

At first, I ignored the recipe when it showed up in my Vita- Prep blender (and in my sink) at the estate where I am the chef. Busy with work, I had been wondering what the after-school kids were up to in the other kitchen, when they brought me a plateful of weirdly shaped pancakes. I was stunned.

No flour? I questioned.

NO FLOUR, they replied.

No Sugar? I asked.

UH, NO! They replied.

SO WHAT IS THIS??? I demanded.

Only three ingredients, they shouted. I almost lost my balance.

OK. Show me. Make me this madness…

And they did, flipping pancakes and talking at high RPMs about calories per serving; what healthy fats to spray in the non-stick skillet before measuring out each pancake; all this,  wearing the most exclusive pilates wear. And me– looking down at my own beautifully pressed chef coat, thinking, it’s not too shabby, but…

… later, as I began to plot my own mission back to gorgeousness and pilate pants, I knew this pancake would be on my breakfast menu. Already, the staff (housekeepers) are trading their versions in the staff lounge. In fact, it was a housekeeper’s version that began the Protein Pancake Marathon that was to become my life… Just two ingredients:

  1. 1 Very Ripe Banana
  2. 1 Egg

Over the past couple of months, many of you have witnessed my many versions of this pancake on my Instagram feed @Stovetopped. Double Banana with Toasted Walnuts; the Butternut Squash and Toasted almonds; the more delicate Banana Crepe filled with Fresh Raspberries… I can’t believe I haven’t tired of it. It’s very good, in all its incarnations. Just this morning I was inspired again by some very ripe persimmons a friend had given me; that’s when the Silver Dollar Pancakes came to mind. It’s Thanksgiving week and the color and seasonality of it all made me think of making something special, such as a crispy edged tower of Persimmon Silver Dollars with the faint taste of cinnamon and nutmeg. A nutritious and delicious tower to start your day. I only wish I had had one more persimmon to slice on top; or had pomegranate seeds to shower over it. But quite honestly, they are good just as they are.

Ingredients for one or two personal stacks

  1. 1 Ripe (soft) Persimmon
  2. 1 Egg
  3. Pinch of Cinnamon
  4. Pinch of Nutmeg
  5. Pinch of Kosher Salt
  6. 1 TBS Coconut Oil
  7. Big Non-Stick Skillet

 Here we go!

All you need is one very ripe persimmon: trimmed, skinned and chopped, as seen here. Any type of ripe persimmon will suffice. This guy is a Cinnamon Variety, from the Hachiya family. Barely sweet, persimmons must be showcased and not overshadowed by bold flavors and bold textures because they are mild in flavor and can be unidentifiable. They are best in baked goods. And since they are an autumnal fruit, they pair really well with cinnamon and nutmeg… I added a pinch of each in this recipe.

In a hot non-stick skillet, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil and carefully glaze the plan with the fat, sure to cover the entire surface. Pour small portions of the batter into the hot fat and let them be. One to two minutes on low to medium heat should create a nice shape and color.

These pancakes pictured below are ready to be flipped. The edges are browned and the egg is set. Flip gently and cook another minute or less.

Crispy edges peeking out…
A lousy picture I captured from My Story on Instagram shows considerable rise!

Et Voila! Stack them high and dress with freshly sliced persimmon, or any syrup, although the entire point of this cake is its low glycemic value and healthy nutrition and protein.

A final note: the Beverly Hills Banana Protein Pancake method is the same. Make a giant cake and flip it; the recipe has more oomph than these delicate dollars. Enjoy!

I think they are perfect naked.

Seconds!