Friday, April 18, 2014

The Restless Runner

thirdculturefoodie is now The Restless Runner. Follow my new blog:

I've transferred all of my posts over!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cashew Cookie Dough Balls

Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookie dough? Last week I bought a tub of Eat Pastry cookie dough and had the bad habit of half baking a big spoonful of dough in a small ramekin dish and eating it with a spoon. Brent joined in on the fun, and when we finished the tub we decided we needed to find a healthier way to enjoy cookie dough. With a little bit of googling, I found this delicious recipe! Cashews and oats give you protein and energy, but the sweetener and chocolate chips make it feel like an indulgence. Enjoy!

1 cup cashews
2/3 cup oats
2 Tbsp Agave
2 Tbsps Maple Syrup
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Mini Chocolate Chips

1. In a food processor, blend cashews and oats until they become a powder.
2. Add the agave, maple, vanilla and blend until incorporated.
3. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
4. Form into small balls by rolling between your palms. Keep in the fridge or freezer.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Manhattan Beach Post

Last night Brent and I went to Manhattan Beach Post for dinner. This is one of Marta's favorite LA spots, so it feels appropriate to be blogging about it on her 25th birthday. My baby sister has good taste! Chef David LeFevre's Manhattan Beach Post is on the infamous Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants in Los Angeles list. Apparently Jonathan Gold ate at MB Post last night too! It's really hard to get a reservation here as most of their seating is communal and reserved for walk-ins. We made our reservation about two weeks ago, and it was worth it to guarantee an available table.

Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits with Maple Butter

Our server was knowledgable, friendly, and after reviewing the menu concept Brent and I were already planning our trip back. The gastropub has a small plates concept, recommending between two and three dishes per person. The menu has its regular items, but changes daily based on what is in season. It is divided by breads, charcuterie, cheese, vegetable dishes, seafood and meat dishes.  We went with the wildly popular Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits first. The biscuits even have their own Facebook page! After my first bite of the cheesy, flaky, and buttery biscuits I understood why. We then sampled the chef's selection of breads, meats and cheese, followed by skirt steak, lamb belly and roasted brussel sprouts. Everything was beautifully crafted, but I especially enjoyed the super tender lamb belly. The pacing of the meal was perfect, and the experience was not rushed. I can't wait to come back and try more menu items. David LeFevre clearly knows what he is doing.

Chef's Selection of Cured Meats and Cheeses

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Emmental, Hazelnuts and Sage

Grilled Skirt Steak with Broccolini and Red Chimichurri

BBQ Moroccan Lamb Belly with Caramelized Onions and Japanese Eggplant

The Elvis with Pudding, Peanut Butter Mouse and Bacon Brittle

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dark Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal

Alaina is quite the crafty individual. This morning we hung out at her apartment to work on some baby shower gifts. See her in action below! I'm so impressed with her baby blanket making skills. My limited sewing experience meant I was in charge of making breakfast, pulling pins and providing moral support. For breakfast I made jalapeño bacon and my favorite breakfast food item, oatmeal. I found this oatmeal concept in Women's Running magazine. The combination of chocolate, cherries and almonds was delicious. I'll be adding this to my morning oatmeal menu of options.

2/3 cup oatmeal (1/2 if you don't wake up super hungry)
1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons crushed almonds
A few dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup frozen cherries, defrosted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Zest of half a lemon

Using a food processor, process the cherries, almond extract, zest and maple syrup. Place in a small bowl.

Everyone has their own way of making oatmeal. I use the microwave to make my oatmeal, putting the oatmeal in a bowl, pouring in the almond milk and microwaving for 1.5 minutes. Microwaves are not all the same, it might take more or less time. You can also cook the oatmeal on the stove by bringing the required amount of water or milk to a simmer and adding the oats and stirring until the oats are cooked through.

When the oatmeal is ready, top with the cherry mixture, almonds and dark chocolate chips. Enjoy!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Stinky Grilled Cheese

Last weekend Mama, Papa and Marta were visiting Los Angeles. We ate very well. Tripel for dinner on Friday, dessert at the Culver City Hotel, Marmalade Cafe for coffee on Saturday, lunch at the Kogi, happy hour at MB Post and dinner at Pinguini. By Sunday, when Mama and Papa were back in Michigan, Marta and I were ready to cook.  We found inspiration at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market, buying mold-ripened goats cheese from Drake Family Farms and crusty whole wheat bread. We sautéed some mushrooms with butter, buttered our bread, and added two slices of mozzarella to act as a glue for our mushrooms and goats cheese. The result, a deliciously stinky grilled cheese sandwich. We also made prosciutto wrapped asparagus and homemade kale chips. If you are looking for a way to switch up your regular menu, visit the farmer's market with no plan, and be inspired by the ingredients.

4 Slices of Mozzarella
4 slices of crusty yummy bread
Butter Sautéed Mushrooms 
Butter for the bread
Facetime with Colby at MB Post
Kogi Truck on Abbott Kinney
Pretty self explanatory. Butter the bread, add two slices of mozzarella top with a chunk of goats cheese and mushrooms. Use a panini press and cook until golden brown.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Caramelized Onion + Sausage Pizza

I first made this dish back in 2008 the day I got my wisdom teeth pulled. Brent came over and spent the evening with his drowsy chipmunk fiancée. Despite wishful thinking, my super sensitive teeth could only handle smoothies and mashed potatoes. I had all the ingredients in the refrigerator to make this pizza dish, so I made it just for Brent. I was so envious when he took a big, pain free bite of this pizza topped with caramelized onions, spicy sausage and melted gorgonzola cheese. When my teeth were back to normal I started making this dish fairly regularly. This week I had a craving for gorgonzola and for the first time in years made this pizza. I'm not sure why I abandoned the incredible flavor combination for so many years. It definitely won't be a few years before I make this again. Enjoy!

Cornmeal, for dusting
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 pound spicy turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled
2 individual pizza dough servings
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola
A handful of Arugula

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Sprinkle a heavy baking sheet (without sides) with cornmeal and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the sausage. Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage and cook, stirring constantly, until cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Roll out the pizza dough until about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Spread the onion mixture evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese has melted, about 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with arugula. Cut and serve.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

Two weekends ago I was in New York for my Columbia program's callback weekend. I had very little time in the city, but knew I could not leave New York without visiting Nussbaum & Wu, my favorite Morningside Height bagel joint. Los Angeles has great food, but is not known for their bagels, so when I got back I thought it would be fun to experiment with making my own. I gave it a shot even though I knew I would never be able to master their chewy on the outside/soft and doughy texture of a New York bagel. I decided to try making made a dozen of my favorite pre-run bagels, cinnamon raisin. I wasn't expecting much, especially since I used white whole wheat flour, but they were visually appealing and tasted great too! Brent and I each had a bagel with honey and cream cheese and we froze the rest. I love having a batch in my freezer for a quick breakfast on the run. Round one was a success, so I am excited to try savory bagels next. 

1 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/4 cups white whole-wheat flour
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3-4 cups bread flour
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Kettle water
6 quarts water
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

Put raisins in a small bowl and add enough boiling water to cover. After five minutes, drain and dry with a paper towel.

Whisk lukewarm water, 1/4 cup brown sugar, honey, yeast and oil in a large bowl until the yeast dissolves. Stir in white whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, salt and the raisins. Stir in enough of the bread flour to make a soft dough, about 2 1/2 cups.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead, gradually add more flour, until the dough is smooth and quite firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Cover with a paper towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope shape. Form bagels by overlapping the ends by 1 inch. Pinch together well so they don't come apart in the water. Set the bagels aside, uncovered, to rise until slightly puffy, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring 6 quarts water with 2 tablespoons brown sugar to a boil in a large pot.

Add two or three risen bagels at a time into the pot. The water should be at a lively simmer. Cook for 45 seconds, turn them over with a slotted spoon and cook for 45 seconds longer. Remove the bagels with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; place on the baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Brush with egg white to give them that glossy look.

Place the bagels in the oven, reduce heat to 425° and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the bagels over and bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes more.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

BBQ Pretzel Burger

This week my life has consisted of running, yoga and cooking. I have really enjoyed starting my mornings with my run club buddies, stretching at YogaWorks in South Bay, and taking my time at the grocery store. Yesterday I stopped by Whole Foods after yoga class (I sound like such an LA housewife) and instead of rushing around the store like I usually do, I wandered. I sampled products, read labels, and looked through the hot bar for inspiration. When I saw the pretzel buns, I knew it was going to be burger night. Brent and I are obsessed with The Tripel. We go at least weekly, one of their best menu items is the Pretzel Burger. I was not going to try to recreate that masterpiece. There is no way I can compete with Brooke Williamson's poppy seed slaw and perfectly cooked aged beef. I knew I had a bunch of onions in the fridge, a bottle of unopened BBQ sauce, and arugula, so I decided to put them all together. I was a little nervous this meal would just make us crave spending more money at The Tripel, especially considering I used lean beef. After our first bite, Brent and I we were shocked at how yummy the burgers were. They were smothered in delicious BBQ sauce, the onions were falling of the sides, and the arugula added some freshness. I felt like a dork for feeling proud of my meal last night. It was one of those, "I can cook," moments. Enjoy!

3/4 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 pretzel rolls
Handful of baby arugula
Two slices of your favorite cheese
Your favorite BBQ sauce
3 red onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large frypan over low heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When onions are softened and golden, add the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Cook onion over low heat for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Form two burgers with a deep depression in the center. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in the pan. Cook the burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the first side, about 3 minutes. Flip over the burgers. Cook burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the second side, 4 minutes for medium rare (3 minutes if topping with cheese) or longer if you prefer well done beef. Add the cheese, on the tops of the burgers during the last minute of cooking. 

Allow the burgers to rest for a minute or two after cooking them. That way your pretzel bun won't get soggy. Slice the bun in half, add the burger, top with arugula, onions and BBQ sauce. Grab a bunch of napkins. You'll need them.
Brent really likes caramelized onions. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Lemon Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Today was a lazy day. I did manage to get outside for a quick run, but otherwise my day consisted of sleeping in until nine (which is crazy late considering I am up at five for work), watching the Today Show, playing on Pinterest, doing some laundry, and watching NBC's "What We Wasted Our Year On." For dinner I roasted a bunch of vegetables and tossed them with Lemon Garlic Orzo and a simple lemon dressing. This dish made my day feel accomplished. It was fresh and satisfying. I suggest a colorful combination of vegetables below, substitute with whatever vegetables you have at home. Artichokes or sun-dried tomatoes would be yummy too! Tomorrow I am going to play in the kitchen some more. I'll be making stuffed mushrooms and experimenting with Jalapeño Cheddar Scones. 

1 pound orzo (I used Pappardelle's Lemon Garlic Orzo)
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds
2 yellow squash, halved and sliced
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Feta Cheese and Red Pepper Flakes for topping

1/3 cup quality extra virgin olive oil
Juice of two large lemons
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes. As the vegetables are roasting, bring a pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. To prepare the dressing, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk. When the vegetables are ready, toss them with the pasta, and mix in the dressing. Top with red pepper flakes and feta cheese. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Waffles

You know you're on vacation when you're making waffles. I always eat peanut butter chocolate oatmeal for breakfast. Today, however, with no need to rush around and take care of errands before the work week begins, I decided to switch it up and make waffles. After preparing them I realized they are essentially the breakfast as I usually have, just cooked in a waffle maker and topped with syrup. I love the texture of oatmeal in my waffles, the sweetness of the ripe banana, and the melty chocolate chips. They were a great start to my three week winter break! Last night Alaina and I celebrated our last day by creating a meal using nothing but ingredients from our fridge and pantry. We made creamy polenta with mushrooms, spinach and onions. For dessert we baked dark chocolate brownies for 3/4 of the recommended time (our version of molten lava chocolate cake). I am looking forward to having the time to cook these next few weeks and experiment with a few new recipes ideas. More posts to follow!

1 very ripe large banana
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
A pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup almond milk
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole white wheat flour
A sprinkle of chocolate chips

Mash the banana with baking powder. Add egg, oil, salt, vanilla, almond butter, almond milk and stir.
Stir in oats and flour until just combined. Sprinkle in chocolate chips and fold gently.
Add half of the mixture to a waffle maker. Cook until golden brown. Serve with maple syrup and a few more chocolate chips. Makes two large waffles or four small waffles. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Grandma's Vinegar Pie

During Thanksgiving weekend the Johnson family eats pie for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, and for dessert after dinner. We are passionate about pie. At my wedding there was no wedding cake. I was more interested in wedding pie from Zingerman's. This Thanksgiving we baked Pumpkin Pie, Oatmeal Pecan Pie, Apple Pie, Blueberry Pie and Chocolate Banana Cream Pie. We also made a Johnson family specialty...Vinegar Pie. For the first fifteen years of my life I was a Vinegar Pie skeptic. Vinegar in a pie sounds gross. My mom finally convinced me to give it a try when she described it as a pecan pie without the pecans. Vinegar Pie essentially is a sugar pie. Nobody seems to know why the recipe calls for vinegar, but we add that tablespoon every time. It's about time I blog Grandma Johnson's Vinegar Pie. I dug out the recipe in Mama's old cookbook. Give it a try this holiday season! I have also included some of my Friendsgiving and KIPP Potluck photos. Quick tip: Next time you make sweet potato casserole, use marshmallow fluff. Your vegetarian friends will thank you and if you bake then broil it, the marshmallow will make a delicious crusty layer.

Mamita Chenhall's Recipe Book
Chocolate Banana Cream Pie, Vinegar Pie, Apple Pie, Oatmeal Pecan Pie 
Thanksgiving 2013, Green Bean Casserole, Marshmellow Fluff Sweet Potatoes, Alaina's Rolls

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pecan + Cherry Brussels Sprouts with Gorgonzola

Quarter 1 parent teacher conferences are officially over! At KIPP we conference as a full teaching team, so the fifth grade team has spent fifteen hours together over the past three days... and it was fun! We met with lots of happy parents (a testament to the strength of the team), shared some good laughs and ate lots of food! Last year we started the tradition of having a conference week potluck. As a result, we've eaten very well, enjoying Karen's apple crumble and pasta salad, Julie's black bean enchiladas and salted caramel cupcakes, Arlena's chili and sweet cornbread, Alaina's fluffy fruit dip and decadent chocolate pie, and Ashley's baked pasta and famous crumble. Tuesday I tried a pinterest cheesy tomato quinoa bake. Meh, it's not worth blogging. Today I decided to make my new favorite Brussels sprouts dish. I've made it three times in the past two weeks! I love roasting Brussels sprouts because of the way they get soft on the inside and are crunchy on the outside. The dried cherries and pecans add sweetness and texture. The gorgonzola topped at the end is the icing on the cake, and really brings the entire dish together. I'll be making this dish for school thanksgiving and LA friendsgiving. It's become a quick hit! 

1 pound brussels sprouts, halved
2/3 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup pecan halves
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt + Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400° F. On a baking sheet, toss the Brussels sprouts, pecans, cherries, oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. Turn the Brussels sprouts cut-side down (this will give them a nice crunch). Roast until golden and tender, about 25 minutes. Top with gorgonzola and serve.