Archive for the ‘Project Food Blog’ Category

So I made it to round two of the Project Food Blog competition for the next food blog star. There are 400 of us left and after this round we’ll be down to 200. You can cast your vote for me right above the blog post for the readers’ choice in this week’s challenge.
Challenge #2 was Classics, I had to pick a classic dish from another country/culture that I wasn’t familiar with so, loving Indian food I picked Chicken Biyarni. It was a fun dish to make. Project Food Blog - Entry I’m pumped for this competition and look forward to advancing all the way through, one vote at a time, with your help.

You can also  see how each of the bloggers interpreted the challenge and then you can cast your vote for your favorites!

For this week’s challenge, 200 contestants out of 400 will advance, so I need your help to vote for me to advance to the next challenge.

Thank you for your support!


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When presented with this challenge it got me excited. I immediately began to think about either the middle east or India. Having cooked and prepared

Chopped Cilantro, Mint and Jalapeno pepper

many dishes using  many classical techniques from the European culinary world I was thinking about which part of the world that I would challenge me. Where would I have to go to be less familiar with their techniques or cooking methods? I’ve always been partial to Middle eastern and Indian cuisine. I love the flavors and spices. The exquisite aromas when walking

into an Indian restaurant.  Heavy smells of curry, cardamon, turmeric, chilies and many more spices all wafting in the air forming a never ending parade of unique scents for the palate to begin to savor. The anticipation of what is to come on the plate.

One can’t help thinking about the early tradesmen from Europe traveling east, on the spice route, to discover the plethora of flavors, colors and

scents that awaited them when they hit the regions of Persia, Arabia, India, China, Java and more. For me this what I can’t help thinking of when I am experiencing the foods of the region. Many of these spices eventually made there way into many classical European dishes that we eat to this day.

The dry spices for the biryani

The dry spices for the biryani

The dining experience in a Indian restaurant is a feast for the senses. One small dish after another being presented at the table with a whole host of condiments from spicy to sweet to sour, each paired so well with the different flavors of the entrees. Food that I love but yet am not too familiar with it’s preparation.

So the question is where do I go. Is it technique or the road to discovery. I chose the road to discovery. Which ended up being Indian Cuisine. The next challenge was to decide on a dish to prepare. My first instinct was Tandori Chicken which I knew was a challenge however I don’t have a grill readily available so after doing a bit of research online I discovered that Chicken Biryani, which I had underestimated as being a simple chicken and rice dish is not that all. After looking into it I discovered that it was a complex dish made up of many spices and steps to prepare.

It’s interesting that Biryani was brought to the Indian subcontinent

Chicken mixed with yogurt marinade

by the Muslims. Each region in India has it’s own form or biryani. Some are exclusively vegetarian and others are with meat or chicken. Non-vegetarian Hyderabadi biryani is savored in all parts of India and forms an integral part of Indian cuisine. The Nizam’s kitchen boasted of 49 kinds, which included biryani made from fish, quail, shrimp, deer and hare. The most famous of all, Hyderabadi Biryani is called the “Kachi Akhni” Biryani as both the marinated meat and the rice are cooked together. – (“Wikipedia”) This is the type of biryani that I have decided to make. Basically it’s Chicken Biryani.

My first task was to find out how to make this dish. So glad for YouTube and Sanjay Thumma. His videos Vah-Chef have many great recipes and dishes. This dish was interesting in that the meat and rice are cooked together.  Being a trained chef myself I am used to working without recipes and just an ingredient list and also cooking by taste. I also loo

Layer, Chicken on bottom covered by parcooked Basmati Rice

ked up a few recipes for this to find any that matched what he was cooking. I came close but not completely. So I chose to go with his video as my guide.

Next I had to assemble all of the ingredients which are

Chicken, Basmati rice, turmeric, cardamon, cumin seeds, cardamon pods, yogurt, fresh mint, fresh coriander, mace, bay leaves, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, olive oil, saffron, ground cumin, whole cloves, kosher salt, whole  peppercorns,  green chili, red chili powder and onions. I looked through my cabinet and filled in what I didn’t have.

Oh as I’m writing this the aromas of the dish are wafting throughout my house and I’m getting very hungry.  The prep took a bit of time.

Having to chop up the coriander and mint leaves, next came the Jalapeno chili and I mixed them together. The next item on the list were the spices adding the turmeric, cinnamon stick, cloves, cumin seeds, cumin powder, garlic ginger paste and the rest to the yogurt. Next I cut up a chicken and added it to the mixture and mixed it all together, covered it and placed it in the fridge for a few hours.  About 45 mins before the basmati rice must be soaked. When ready in a pot of well salted oiled water add the drained basmati rice and bring to a boil. You only want to parcook the rice so the water measurement is not that important.  When par cooked drain rice and in another pot place

Finished chicken Biryani

chicken at the bottom and flatten out. Then cover with the parcooked rice and top with a bit of saffron. Make sure the pot is well sealed, I used a paper towel, and then place on medium low heat for about 30 to 40 mins. Then you’re ready to eat.

It was a good experience and I would definitely make this again. The flavors are wonderful and it has a bit of a kick to it which I like. This balances out well with all the aromatic flavors in the dish. Definitely something to be added to the repetoire. I think there may be more Indian cooking in my future.

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Voting is open

Hi All,

I’ve entered the competition for Project Food Blog to see who will be the next food blog star. You can cast your vote for me right above the blog post for the readers’ choice in this week’s challenge, Ready, Set, Blog! In Challenge #1, I was asked to tell the world what defined me as a blogger and why I should win Project Food BlogProject Food Blog - Entry.  So I’ve primed myself for this challenge and have committed to doing what I love to do and just doing what I do through each challenge. I’m looking forward to each step and creating each post. It’s going to rock!!!!

The other cool thing is that you can see how each of the bloggers interpreted the challenge and then you can cast your vote for your favorites!

For this week’s challenge, 400 contestants will advance, so I need your help to vote for me to advance to the next challenge.

Thank you for your support!


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That's me on one of my Malibu Wine Tours - with my faves elk and Buffalo

As a culinary blogger I am always looking to bring a new and fresh perspective to the readers. For me it’s about going behind the scenes and giving as much of an insiders look at what’s going on. What I like are the stories about the people in the business whether it’s a wine maker in Malibu who allows mother nature to determine the true taste of each vintage or the Pig farm that feeds it’s pigs a diet of

Pigs at Play

barley, chips and beer raising both for show and meat.

I love to take my readers on an adventure to give them the same experience that I have the excitement that is the world of food.  My background is that of a professional

Picking Greens at Organic Farm

photographer and a chef. The two muses in my life which are completely intertwined in my blogging. There are times when I’m out on one of my adventures and the smells and flavors are so exquisite that I wish I had a way for you to taste all of them.

Gourmet Lunch at the Vineyard

For me going to a farmers market can be an erotic experience for me. To see so many wonderful offerings and speak to the farmers to hear some of their stories and discover new ingredients and then  imagine what could be done with all those fresh seasonal ingredients tasting and smelling for me is just heaven in a confined space.No matter which way you look at it, food and wine is all about the ingredients, where they come from, how they’re used and what they are ultimately turned into.

The Ferry Building

When I’m talking my favorite things they are all there, “When I go to San Fran and I need a fix and I’m feeling sad I simply remember my favorite things and then I head to The Ferry Building” A trip to the Ferry Building in San Francisco is another orgasmic experience on a much higher level.

The Heavenly Porcini at Ferry Building

We’re talking a whole new world with caviar and charcuterie, mushrooms and Seafood and let’s not forget cheese and Wind with a smattering of pork products galore, that’s what I’m talkin about. So you see for me food blogging is not just about the recipe it’s about the story behind the recipe it’s what sets my blog apart. Capturing the moment both in the written word and with my camera.

Plating Duck Sous Vide with Daikon & Couscous

Cooking in a restaurant kitchen is the ultimate experience it is truly a heavenly thing to be a part of the true orchestration of elements all coming together with precision to keep the customer happy. The exacting way to plate each dish, the work it takes to prep your Mise and make sure you’re ready to rock when service begins. It’s about the characters who work in restaurant kitchens who work hard and play hard. The creativity of the chefs always looking for the next new ingredient or a different way to reinvent a classic dish.

Duck Sous Vide with Daikon & Couscous

Many great things go on behind the scenes that no one is privy to and that’s where I want to go into the bowels as well as the main event. I seem to have a good mix of both.When one asks what sets me apart I just tell them that it’s me and my perspective sometimes tweaked or a bit askew. There are those times as well when things are a bit more straight forward but that is more the exception. I just embody the culinary world, it’s a deep part of my soul and keeps me going every day it’s why I am perfect to be the next food blog star.

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