Minestrone soup.

FullSizeRenderEvery winter I re-discover my love of soup. As a not so confident cook, I’m always relieved that the recipe is usually some variation of “put all ingredients into pot and bring to a boil.” And as a lover of leftovers, I appreciate the fact that most soup gets better after sitting a day or two! My routine lately is to make a big pot of something for dinner on Sunday, and then jar up the leftovers for my lunch all week. Over the rest of the winter, I’ll share with you some of my favorite recipes. To start, I give you MINESTRONE. xo Cait

IMG_5409

MINESTRONE SOUP
2 big carrots
2 stalks celery
1 onion
1 zucchini, chopped
8 baby potatoes, chopped
1 can navy beans (small white beans)
1 can kidney beans
2qt stock
1tsp sage
1tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1tsp pepper
1 C dried ‘mini’ pasta

Clean and chop all vegetables.
Heat up a little oil in your best soup pot. Brown carrots, celery & onion.
Add the rest of the ingredients, except for pasta, and bring to a boil.
Let simmer for as long as you can, but at least 30min.
Add pasta and cook according to your pastas recommendations right before serving! You can also cook pasta separately and add when ready.

Optional: Top with parmesan cheese and a dollop of pesto!

 

Burgertime at Oinkster

IMG_4840The Oinkster had been on my list of places to try since I moved to LA 10 years ago.  It seemed like when talking burgers, the original Oinkster in Eagle Rock always came up in conversation. But it was only when I moved to Mid-City this past year that I became a frequent customer (at the Hollywood location). As it says on their site, “House-cured pastrami or sloooow-roasted pork  compete for diners’ attention with juicy burgers made from freshly-ground Nebraska Angus beef, first-rate rotisserie-roasted chicken and crispy Belgian fries.” And I couldn’t agree more. Normally, I’m the girl that finds the one thing on the menu I like, and then I stick with it, but not with this place…. I personally have had the cheeseburger, the chili cheeseburger (seen above) and the Cluckster. OMG. All three are awesome. A trusted Rueben connosier tells me theirs is also a must have! You can’t go wrong… xo Cait

ps. They sweeten the deal with ice cream shakes made with the always delicious Fosselman’s ice cream!

Burgertime at Grill Em All

The Bohemoth. Now this burger, is a serious burger. Named for a Polish death metal band of the same name, it is a ridiculous burger with grilled cheese sandwiches for buns, tons of cheese, bacon, pickles and beer soaked onions.

IMG_4792It is decadent. And craveable. Oh my, it is good.

IMG_4786If you live in Los Angeles and aren’t familiar with Grill Em All, you should be. They have a food truck roaming around town as well as a restaurant in Alhambra (right next to a movie theatre! make it a date!) where they dish up crazy metal themed burgers. A lot of fun. And oh so delicious. xo Cait

IMG_4794

More sprouting.

Sprouting seems to be a serious buzz word these days. But after I learned more about the process, the whole idea makes total sense. By soaking and allowing a bean (seed)  to germinate, you are giving it all the signals nature does to let it know to start growing. And as the beans grow, dormant enzymes are turned on, making the beans easier to digest. Lots more info on the whole process can be found on Serious Eats. PLUS, sprouting is EASY. And pretty fun too…

20110404-145122-bean-sprouts-assortedPhoto above (and more info on sprouting) found HERE

Some of the easiest and quickest beans to sprout are mung, alfalfa, lentils and chickpeas. So I picked up a handful of mung beans in the bulk department at Whole Foods last month and tried it out a few times with great results.IMG_4783

1. Measure out 2-3 tablespoons of dried beans, wash them well, and soak in a covered mason jar overnight.
2. Next morning, drain as much of the water out of the jar as  possible, put the beans back in, cover it, and put it in a cool, dry, dark place.
3. Every 24 hours, for the next 2-3 days, wash and drain beans and put them back in your hiding spot.
4. At around 4-5 days, mine started to wilt and get brown, so I suggest sprouting them for only 2-3 days and then refrigerating them. I also wouldn’t count on them lasting more than a week in the fridge, so eat them fresh!

IMG_4614I think this would be a a really fun thing to do with kids, or just to impress the hell out of everyone at your next dinner party!!! xo Cait

Burgertime at Mo Better Burgers

The burger at Mo Better is so good, you wont believe your taste buds. I think the picture below speaks for itself. I took one bite, and I immediately wanted everyone I knew to meet me there. It’s one of those sneaky strip mall places in LA that may look unassuming from the street (corner of 9th and La Brea), but is turning out high quality, amazing food. And the staff is THE BEST. So friendly and equally as welcoming. You should go, soon. Note: THEY CLOSE AT 5PM so get there early my friends. I hear they are expanding, and will be open for dinner again soon! Until then, go for lunch Tues-Sat xo Cait

mo betta

Burgertime at Top Round

topround3-e1371508730478Time for another entry in the Burgertime Chronicles. This week it’s Top Round at the corner on La Brea at Olympic. A fast food joint started by “chefs and fine food fanatics who wanted to make real, tasty food, fast.” It’s pretty much a glorified Arby’s, but much fresher… And yes, it is more of a roast beef sandwich than a burger, but I make the rules here, so it qualifies. It was one of those that I kept driving by and thinking to myself, that place is kind of adorable. I have to go to there. And it delivered. I’m a fan of the basic Beef and Cheese (and by cheese I mean homemade cheeeeze ‘wizz’) with a frozen custard ‘concrete style’ meaning with the toppings mixed in (think Dairy Queen blizzard). I’ve now been here multiple times and always left happy.
IMG_2701IMG_2702  IMG_2704

Milk Jar.

I discovered Milk Jar up the street from my house shortly after moving to the Wilshire area at the beginning of the year. It has since then been my favorite place to take people to when I want to show off the neighborhood. It couldn’t be cuter, and their cookies and ice cream are top notch. (They have seriously perfected the sugar cookie.) My only complaint is that they are closed on Mondays. I can’t tell you how many Mondays I’ve thought to myself, if only Milk Jar were open today… I deserve a cookie. xo CaitIMG_2910IMG_2909

Burgertime at Capitol Burgers

IMG_3461I love burgers. And LA is a great place to get one, or two… with chili fries. And since I’m trying to blog more, I’ve decided to chronicle my burger adventures. The beauties above are from one of my new favorites, Capitol Burgers on Pico near Crenshaw. It’s a shack. Cheap. Delicious. Go there for a double cheeseburger. NOW. xo Cait

Naturebox

natureboxThe snack delivery service Naturebox had been on my radar for a while, with their incessant ads popping up in my Facebook feed. I guess Facebook has taken note of all of my food photos, because they hooked me. 5 snacks delivered to my door for $20?! NO artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats OR hydrogenated oils?! And they donate a meal through ‘Feeding America’ with every box shipped?? I was ready to sign up. I’ve had the membership a few months now and am a very happy snacker. I have to say, every snack I’ve chosen has been delicious! My favorites so far are the sesame sticks, masa crisps and flax fortune cookies! xo Cait

Coconut milk!

cocomilk

I always have shaved coconut on hand for some reason. I guess it’s because it lasts a long time in the cupboard and makes a great addition to shakes, oatmeal, cookies and cakes… but I had no idea you could blend it with water to make coconut milk in a few minutes flat! Just like any of the nut or seed milks you make in the blender and it only lasts 3-5 days, so I suggest making it in small batches. Blend 1 part shredded coconut with 2 parts water on high for about 1-2 minutes. Then strain through a nut milk bag and there you have it! (It will separate as it sits in the fridge. Just give it a shake) xo Cait