Thursday, December 8, 2011

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Robotic Edition)

I think I may have hit the awesome, nerd, Christmas present jackpot.  Well to be honest, I didn't hit it.  Gabe and Etta did.  They are a couple of funny people who cohabitate.  We know them.  They have a dog, an awesome logo and they just made a movie.  Yeah, you could say, we have a lot in common (except, for the logo part I should work on that one).  Gabe and Etta (Diani and Devine) pitched a little project on Kickstarter that went... how shall we say...fuckng crazy.  Here is thier original pitch...

It went so well that their project was funded many times over and now it's DONE.  As a matter of fact, the books are showing up tomorrow morning.  Hard copy, illustrated versions of Huckleberry Finn, except Jim... is a robot.  Here's a peek....

You can buy the robotic edition of Huckleberry Finn here. 

You're welcome.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tom Kha Gai Martini

Yes, like the Thai soup, but only vaguely. Tom Kha Gai is such a yummy awesome savory soup whose prominent flavors are coconut milk, lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves.  Sounds like a drink to me.
I came up with this martini last year as a way to deal with all the amazing citrus that I scored on the ranch. The Kaffir limes were especially intriguing to me with their wrinkly skin, all puckered and slick.  And they smell uh-mazing.
I have since seen them at Whole Foods for a few bucks a pop. I would say that the flavor of these Kaffir limes are so distinct and fresh that they are totally worth it in these martinis. The first thing I did was I infused a bottle of vodka with a stalk of lemon grass. Nothing fancy, I basically just put a bunch of beat up lemongrass (if you smash it, the oils come out) into a bottle and let it infuse on a shelf for about a month.
I had this in my freezer all ready to go when the Kaffir limes came my way, so everything was fresh.  Not sure if the Kaffir limes will be around in January still, so I'm sure you can infuse the vodka in a week if you want to try this asap just stick some more lemon grass in there.

Then I made an infused simple syrup.

Kaffir Lime Simple Syrup
The Rind of 2 Small Kaffir Limes
2 Cups of Sugar
1Cup of Water

I took the rind of two small Kaffir limes and placed them in a sauce pan with 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water. I brought it to a boil and let it cool and stew a little. Once the syrup cooled on the stove top, I strained out the rind pieces and transferred the liquid to a squeeze bottle.

Here's what you need...

Tom Kha Gai Martini
1/4 Cup Lemongrass Infused Vodka
1/4 Cup Coconut Water (optional dash of Coco Loco if you like creamy drinks)
1 Tablespoon Kaffir Lime Syrup
Juice of 1/2 a Key Lime (or regular limes)

In a shaker filled with ice, combine the ingredients and shake it up.  Put it into a sugar rimmed martini glass and party.  It's perfect for holiday cocktail time.  Beware though... they are strong and taste like wonderful.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Heaven

Last year, in the beginning of November I stayed with some friends at an amazing hill top estate just north of Los Angeles. My buddies invited us to relax for a few days while they house sat for some old family friends. I spent two days there and returned with a fresh head and a kind of peace that I hadn't felt since returning from my honeymoon. But, most of all, I felt inspired. Inspired to cook, to grow things, to live a better life. Here's why... was paradise up there. We were out of the smog and congestion of the city. The new rains of November had begun to turn the hills green and everything smelled fresher than I knew possible. This house and the property it sits on, were so memorable, so special, that I think I now have a clear idea of what my dream home would look like but mostly, what it would feel like.

True, it was a fancy piece of real estate, but what made the property particularly amazing was not it's size or the amenities that it had. It was how the house and the hillside that it was built on, worked together. The house was very much part of the land, unimposing and harmonious. There was an enormous herb garden and a dozen amazing fruit trees...


Kaffir lime..

Buddha's hand...


a donkey...

a chicken coup,

a ten million dollar view...

and a stunning pool with a pool house (okay that part was kind of fancy).

The homeowners are huge foodies so to top it all off, the kitchen, oh the kitchen... was perfect. Everything in this kitchen was in the right place, a thick solid chopping block with a prep sink just off to the side of the stove, a grand refrigerator that was stocked to the gills with everything good, a pantry with a thousand beautiful oils and vinegars and fresh spices from around the world. Baskets hung from the ceiling used for collecting the days harvest. There was an impressive collection of the greatest cookbooks ever printed. Anything you could imagine, it seemed, had been made in that kitchen. Apparently the homeowner used to teach cooking classes there. I would pay for those classes, if not simply to just be in that kitchen again.

After a day of sunning ourselves by a deep blue mountaintop pool and drinking wine from my friend's family winery. We needed a substantial meal. On the menu that night were grilled beef kababs (grass finished and organic) with couscous and a blood orange sauce, leafed brussel sprouts with pancetta and pomegranates and cheesecake prepared by the lady of the house as a "thank you for housesitting" gift (like that was needed).

Cooking in that kitchen was divine. At one point, I was so blissed out, so deep in the mojo of prepping dinner, inundated with a feeling of purpose and connectedness, that I didn't notice The Husband sitting alone at the kitchen table staring at me. He had a Cheshire Cat smile on his face. "What?!" I said, when I saw him. "One day," he said "I'm going to buy you a kitchen like this. I will." I laughed at him. "I'm serious," he said "I will."

So while I'm waiting for that to come true (and saving every penny for a house of our own), I'll just think back and remember the house of my dreams, the garden, the animals, The mountains, the pool, the kitchen, the meal, the wine and the salted caramels that we ate while sitting by the fire.

I took home a basket of loot when I left the next day. I came up with some fun recipes to make with the citrus fruit (yes mostly cocktails, so what?).

More to come...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Our Movie, Featured by Kickstarter!

Lets all snuggle up and explore tricking women on the internets shall we?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy Place

Now that we've wrapped the movie and are knee-deep into post-production, I'm finding myself with a lot of free time. It feels like college, right after finals, when you come home and don't really know what to do with your hands. It's fantastic, don't get me wrong, but as a person who prides herself on always moving, always working, always going... it's absurdly frustrating. I can only organize the kitchen, storage shed and costume closet so many times before I get all Stepford-y and wanna' eat a pound of chocolate in the dark.

So to beat my frustrations, between auditions, I walk sometimes and do yoga sometimes and pour a glass of wine at 4:00 most times. I'm trying to see this time as a mini vacation for the unwilling. A time where I am free to find inspiration for what's next. One thing that has been exciting me lately has been trolling through my photo cache. I've been rediscovering all these fertile memories and images of all kinds of happy places. I thought I'd share some of my fall favorites, maybe you need a happy place too...

Nature's stained glass at Stanford

Public art by Andy Goldsworthy

Dogs sitting in chairs.

Cheese counters everywhere.

Last year's Halloween costume (Dora & Diego).

The "Press For Champagne" button.

Is it 4:00 yet?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Almost Done

We've got one more weekend left to finish our movie "Missed Connections." We had a whirlwind three day weekend with 12 hour days and crazy public shoots, but for the most part, it all went smoothly. I keep finding myself sitting back and taking stock of what good fortune we've had. Our crew is simply amazing and our cast, has brought more to the script than we could have imagined.

We've got a sweet new website and you can follow all of our progress on twitter. If you'd like to see the movie or attend the wrap party visit us here at our new fundraising page.

Thanks for all the love!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My New Hero

I came across Gotye's music today. I love finding new music and thought I'd share. I bought his album and listened to is 5 times in a row. He's just wonderful and his process is inspiring here's a little docu-video...

Enjoy the music...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Me, But Angry

Watch both (I'm in the "BAD" one)...

BTW- Nothing is more liberating than getting paid to act like a crazy person in the lobby of the MGM Grand.

I Love This

Because it's true...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Street Art

Only a few blocks from my house, I came across these stunning pieces of art. We live near the Culver City Arts District so I actually think this may be the exterior of a pop-up gallery, regardless, it's things like this that make life in a big city worth living...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Salt Water Sandals

I had a pair of navy Salt Water Sandals when I was a little girl. I wore them all the time.
I was at an audition the other day and I saw them again. There were on a five year old girl with a pageboy haircut. She was running around the waiting room like her mother had given her too much sugar. A little spaz, with a bad haircut and no regard for decorum. It could have been me. I got nostalgic and I looked them up online and guess what? They make them in big-girl sizes. So I ordered a pair...
I know it's almost October, but I live in California and nobody really cares about the white after Labor Day thing any more. Don't judge me, they're awesome. I can't wait to put them on and run around my house like a maniac.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pho (I've missed you)

So, I know it's been ages, but life sometimes takes you other places than your hobbies allow. I've been busy this Summer, lots of travel, weddings and of course making a movie takes up a lot of time and resources. So I've neglected you. It sucks, I know. Forgive me?

Here, this may make it up to you

It's my Summertime favorite, Pho. I've just read Anthony Bourdain's last two books and at one point he dedicated almost a whole chapter to the dish. While the man is crabby and seems to hate and then love everyone and everything, he has a way with words. I've eaten Pho many times before but somehow his devilish ways roped me right back in. If you don't know, it's actually pronounced 'phuh.' It's a Vietnamese soup with rice noodles, lime, basil, sprouts, chicken, beef, pork... whatever. You can add all kinds of spicy condiments to the broth to make it even more of what it is. And it's so much. It seems strange to want to eat this in the summer time but it actually, supposedly cools you off. You perspire a little, and as your body temperature rises, the differential between the outside temp and your body temp goes down, making you feel cooler. Or so they say. Regardless, most restaurants are air conditioned anyway and making sense of wanting soup in the Summer won't ever really happen. It's just good and you should eat it. I won't tell you where to go, because that's part of the fun of it all. Try starting here.

I've missed you...D

Monday, April 18, 2011

Our Movie

Dearest ones... we're making a movie. The Husband wrote a remarkable script and we are throwing caution to the wind and doing it.

It's about a man named Neil. A very unhappy man, who walks in on his girlfriend with his best friend. Neil has a breakdown/through, leaves his job, leaves his car in the parking lot and walks home. His friends teach him how to start tricking women on Craigslist "Missed Connections" to help him bounce back. Neil ends up meeting a woman who gives him a run for his money. It's about damaged people, fate and love and the whole thing is hilarious. It's an ensemble with a bunch of our talented friends from Fries On The Side the Groundlings.

I absolutely love the script. Wanna help?

Here goes nothing!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Harissa Chicken Braised in Carrot Juice

I made this today. It was inspired by my cousin Liam, who gave me this jar.

Harissa is a Tunisian chili sauce that has more flavor than heat (but still a little heat).

I had never heard of it until I tried the Harissa Rabbit Lola in Seattle (the restaurant where Liam is an executive chef). He gave me the jar because I kept obsessing about how good it was. On his wedding night, his wife Audrey gave me a quick harissa tutorial (she's a chef too). So guys, here's what I came up with. I have to say, it impressed even me. I'm not bragging, I just surprised the hell out of myself when I tasted the final product. It has a sweet, spicy tang that reminded me of a mole or a really good bbq sauce (but not as sweet). This is beyond good.

Harissa Chicken Braised in Carrot Juice
4 organic free range chicken thighs
1/2 large yellow onion diced
1 C chicken broth
3 t Harissa (find a good one like Mustapha's)
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1 t ground cumin
1 1/2 C fresh carrot juice (if you have a juicer, hey, dust it off and get it working again)
1/4 C dried apricots diced
1/4 C golden raisins
1/2 C quartered crimini mushrooms (optional)
1/4-1/2 t kosher salt

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place them in a hot enameled cast iron dutch oven. Brown both sides. It takes about 4 minutes on each side. Let it get some good color.

Remove the chicken and add your onions to the chicken fat. Add a few tablespoons of chicken broth to release the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

When almost translucent and all the liquid has evaporated add the spices (cinnamon, cumin, ginger and harissa). Cook for just a little while until the pan is drier and the spices are toasted.

Add the carrot juice, the rest of the chicken broth and salt to taste (don't put in too much salt because you are going to reduce the sauce). Bring to a boil.

Add chicken back to the pot with apricots, raisins and mushrooms.

Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked completely (10-20 minutes). Remove everything but the liquid. I strained the veg and pieces out with a strainer.

Reduce sauce until it's thick and viscus (don't skip this part).

Once sauce is to your liking (coating the back of a fork) return chicken, veg and fruit to the sauce to coat.

Serve over cous cous.
Please understand, I am considering raiding The Husband's lunch for tomorrow so I can eat the last piece of this. Oh, he would be so mad...but I would be so happy.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hipster Puppies

My husband came home laughing. He looked sweaty and red and absolutely had "to show me this hilarious website." I'll admit, I was skeptical. I mean, he loves a lot of things that I don't; ESPN, Bro Comedies, Nick Cage...

But then he showed me the blog "Hipster Puppies" and I just about peed my pants. It's basically people taking silly pictures of their tortured pets and adding some kind of hipster, popular culture reference as a caption.

Then, we turned the TV off and spent a few hours dressing our dog up in stupid outfits. It was probably one of the funniest things we've done with her (she was surprisingly willing to submit to our degradations). They didn't use our submission but I'll share our favorite with you. Seems a shame to waste such brilliance...

Bikram really kicked Zoe's ass today.

Enjoy - Hipster Puppies

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nomad Chef Secret Dinner

When we were in London last May, we were invited to a Nomad Chef Secret Dinner. It's a sort of a pop up restaurant that is held in a beautiful home in Notting Hill. Twenty strangers and a few regulars come together for one night of brilliant, themed food and company. The last time we went it was Cinco de Mayo and we had four courses of Mexican wonderful, including a lovely mole, empanadas and killer margaritas. Not a small feat when you are all the way across the Atlantic ocean. That night we met people from all over Europe, most of whom had heard about the dinners through word of mouth and blogs but had never met before. It was by far one of the best meals we had on our vacation but the company was my absolute favorite. It's no wonder it sells out every week.

So now that you know the deal, here's the secret... There is going to be a Nomad Chef Secret Dinner in Beverly Hills on March 26th. The theme is the Kubrick film "Eyes Wide Shut." Get your head out of the gutter, it's not a crazy sex party, just a meal of passionate food and drink. You won't be disappointed. The Chef has also hired a musician for live music all night. You can read more about it on the facebook event page or just buy your tickets here (it's just a donation to cover food costs). For those of you who are tight on funds, I have a secret chef-secret code to knock off a lot of those bucks. If you want it, leave a message in the comment box and I'll email it to you.

By the way, I know the secret menu, ooooooo, this is going to be good! Bring a bottle of wine and someone you love and come out and have one of the best nights ever. See you there!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Here it is! You all kept asking for this but then I lost the recipe. And now it is found. I usually just make this to taste, but lord knows, if you've never eaten the stuff before, you won't know the goodness of Greek Tzdsiki without a dang recipe.

Now, my godmother makes her own Greek yogurt by straining regular yogurt with a cheese cloth over the sink until it's nice and thick. Me, I buy the stuff from Trader Joe's. Her Tzadsiki is the best, but hey, I can only do so much.

1 Cup full fat Greek yogurt
1 Cup grated/peeled European cucumbers
1 Small clove garlic pressed through a garlic press
Sprinkle of dried dill
pinch or two of salt

Peel a half of a cucumber and grate on a box grater. Wash your hands and squeeze the grated cucumber over the sink to get rid of a lot of the moisture.

In a small bowl mix together all the ingredients. Salt to taste.

Top with a sprinkle of dill and paprika and serve this with pita or Turkey Meat Balls.

I bet you never knew something so good could be so simple. And now you do.