Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hanging Out with Fawn in the Kitchen

Speaking of hanging out with friends..... Fawn hosted a barbeque at her house and I was hoping to spend the afternoon cooking with her, but other obligations took up my afternoon and by the time I got back to her place she had done most of the prep work. But....I don't need 'exact recipes' to be inspired, alot of times it's simply a new ingredient or technique.

Since I missed most of the prep,(it would have been the time to ask questions and see an actual demonstration!), I took pictures as, kind of, my "picture recipes". Fawn was a little irritated I think, lol, at all of the pictures I was taking, but I explained to her that these pictures were going to serve as reminders of the way she puts food together, and I always learn so much. things like....

Seaweed. I've got to seriously start working with this ingredient.

One of Fawn's house guests was Takei Matsushita, attending level ll Cert from Japan, (pictured with Aaron and Jim Ryan), and he brought Fawn a few packages of seaweed. (he later told me that it was the best kind in Japan....what kind? I don't remember, but I'm going to learn more about it) Seaweed is such a nutritious food and now that summer salad season is here, it's the perfect time to learn how to work with it. Lucky for me I live in 'Japantown', and have a number of Japanese markets within walking distance of my home. I don't remember what all Fawn put in this salad, but from the picture I know there was cucumber and carrot...the dressing? I'm guessing....well, I don't remember, lol, I'll have to ask her!

Grilled salad greens and Chipotle peppers.

I never knew you could grill greens until I stayed with Fawn last Oct. and she grill chard! Grilled chard? I had never imagined. But now 'grilled salads' are all the rage in resturants and after getting so much romaine lettuce these last few weeks I considered quatering some heads of romaine and grilling them, for a 'grilled Ceaser salad'...but I hadn't gotten around to it yet. But on the plane ride to MN I thought about doing the same with cabbage and shared this thought with Fawn, so she incorporated the idea into another one of her salads, grilling the cabbage with a brushing of olive oil, and adding black beans along with some other veggies and dressed it with a chipotle dressing!

Speaking of Chipolte peppers.....these are an ingredients that Fawn has taken a liking to! She used them in the black bean dip and I think she even included them in the barbeque sauce for the ribs. Chipotle peppers are 'smoked jalapeno peppers', and are sold in cans with a spicy sauce called adobo. They are very spicy! You don't need much, rarely more than 2 peppers. (My friend Jill once mistaked a recipe that called for 2 chipotle peppers for 2 cans of chipotle peppers! Wow...hot!) When I got home I quickly made my own chipotle dresssing by simply adding one chopped chipotle pepper (with a little sauce) with a yogurt/mayo (2 to 1) combination, apple cider vinegar, lemon and honey. But you can add chipotle to any of your own favorite dressings for a 'kick'.

Quinoa and rice salads.

Quinoa was another ingredient I started using after staying with Fawn last year, and by coincidence the last salad I made at home before my trip was a quinoa/brown rice based salad. Quinoa is a grain that is a complete protein...that's the appeal these days, and it seems to be going through a rediscovery and it flys off the supermarket shelves! It is also a grain that is popular for anyone that needs to avoid wheat for dietary or allergy reasons (I could be wrong about this, but I seem to recall hearing it somewhere).

I use a variety of veggies with a simple oil and lemon dressing, in fact I'll be posting numerous salad ideas soon, but Fawn used a scallion and goat cheese dressing, with baby greens.

Fawn's Green onion and Goat Cheese Dressing

1 bunch chopped green onion tops (see pic)
goat cheese, 4-6 oz.
lemon juice

olive oil

Place first four ingredients in a blender, adding oil as needed to get the proper consistency. Season with salt.

Melon Balls!

Remember melon balls? Well I think it's time for a comeback! Fawn loves melon balls and what a simple way to have a little 'retro' fun at a barbeque, lol. Fawn made a lovely fruit platter with red grapes, honeydew melon and sliced mango. Who needs anything fancy?

Mark and I will be traveling to St. Paul two more times this year and lucky us, we get to stay with the Friday's next time in August (hey, on my birthday weekend, lol!). I'll also be working on bringing Fawn back to California for cooking classes this next year...woo hoo! Life is good.


fawn said...

I had a great time cooking with you that weekend. We will have to make a point of doing more cooking next time... you really inspire me. You are a fantastic cook, and you always fire up my intrest in cooking.

Tracy said...


Thank God you don't make desserts, lol!

I've decided though that if I'm going to eat sweets I should make them myself...I know we talked about cheapy sweets containing high fructose corn syrup, and although I try and buy higher quality binge foods....those stinkin' cookies (at the Cert)certainly don't qualify.....

I'm thinking chocolate souffle as my 'signature' dessert. for one thing you can make only a few, instead of dozens of cookies or a whole cake, and you can chose high quality ingredients. Mark doesn't like desserts with fruit, he likes puddings and custards, which I don't, so I think it's a good compromise. (Raspberry souffle in the summer...or peach maybe?)

jenny said...

It is amazing to me with all the cooking that you guys do - both of you are so lean!
While I have taken a bigger interest in cooking these days, I find that the more I think about it, the more I have to beat myself into submission to not overeat - a constant struggle!

Tracy said...


First of all, I'm not as lean as I was last year, but I'm eating cleaner and healthyier than ever....inbetween the binges, lol!

I still find myself fighting those voices, but everytime I gain new insight. The latest is that I need to trust my body....good subject for a blog post.

Himitsu Joe said...


We all need the chicken-stock pressure cooker recipe. Just started playing with my pressure cooker. Would love some advice. Do you pre-roast the chicken and use a carcass? Or just the bones?


Tracy said...


I know, I know! Where are you? are you local? I would love to give you a home demo...seriously! This method freakin' rocks!

But just for you, I promise to spend a few days...that's how long it will take me, and that's why I haven't done it yet....to get the pictures and text organized, and post it!

neca said...

I'd love to hear more details about the grilled salad. My teenager begins to rebel after about 2 salads per week, so I'm always looking for new ways to serve vegetables.

Love the recipes - you always give me great ideas! your site has really inspired and helped me take my veggie consumption to the "next level"!