HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY – A FESTIVAL OF FEASTS

One of the fun things about having a blog is being able to write about experiences that I have with food. I’ve written about our food and wine experience on the Queen Mary and now I want to tell you about the wonderful Mother’s Day that my family gave me. My family took me to the SAGEBRUSH CANTINA.DSCN0751 The cantina is located in the heart of Calabasas. For those not familiar with Los Angeles it is located on the Southwest end of the San Fernando Valley off the 101 Freeway. The restaurant was first opened in 1976 by Bob McCord. Over thirty years of owning the restaurant he transformed it from a little restaurant to a local landmark serving traditional Mexican Food. The décor reminds me of a Western Bar. The bar area is huge with more flat screens than chickens in a coop. As weekly events the restaurant offers a whole range of lively activities like Margarita Mondays, Karaoke with a live band, live artist performances and a world famous breakfast.

It was this Sunday Brunch that I spent my delightful Sunday morning, fortunately my husband had the forethought to make reservations a month in advance for when we arrived for the first seating there was a mass of people. I will admit that the staff was very organized and that got us seated very quickly.

We sat down and were greeted with Champagne and fresh orange juice. My husband, two daughters and eldest daughter’s boyfriend looked at each other and said “what are we waiting for!” Off we went – we first hit the Omelet Bar.

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You choose your own ingredients from a cavalcade offering of:

  • Onions
  • Tomatoes                   DSCN0721
  • Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Mushrooms
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Salsa
  • Ham
  • Jalapeno
  • Green Peppers
  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream

… and of course fresh eggs. The omelet chefs were right there and cook up your omelet in a manner of minutes. Further the bar offered fresh bacon, waffles, pancakes with all the trimmings. I especially like their offering of bagels, lox (and all the fixings), cream cheese and I added a decent helping of Caviar (I wondered what the poor people were doing).

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Well that was Round One. We started Round Two off with a visit to the Seafood bar. This was a great offering of Crab legs (swarm and cold), shrimp, caviar and oysters. DSCN0726 The offering was very fresh. The oysters, I have to admit were the sweetest I’ve had in a long time. The last time I remember having some oysters that good was when hubby and I visited the Key West.

Round Three, which I skipped because I was getting full, included an array of Mexican specialties; various pizzas, sushi, Chicken Crepes, Eggs Benedict, potato pancakes for the kids, along with pizza and lemonade they had Dodger Dogs and much much, more. I didn’t even mention the assortment of salads.

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If that was not enough for you ham, turkey, beef brisket, pork ribs and roast beef were also there for your pleasure. The brisket was exceptional however the pork ribs carried the taste of the cooking fuel.

Well, I was done by this time fully satisfied and happy however, hubby was not done yet. You can probably figure out that Round Four was a trip to the desert bar. The main attraction was the chocolate fountain with:

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  • Bananas
  • Oreo cookies
  • Donut holes
  • Marshmallows and of course Fresh STRAWBERRIES

Well, of course hubby being a chocolate fanatic I expected nothing less of on his return to the table an offering of dipped chocolate but also a huge slice of chocolate, chocolate cake, carrot cake, cheese cake and to top it off Churros. God help the poor man! There was also ice cream, and assortment of Jell-O cups (always room…).

Well-fed and slightly buzzed I was presented with my gifts. My eldest daughter and her boyfriend gave me a set of beautiful earrings, and from the youngest, new Bar-B-Q utensils.

A great way to spend Mother’s Day.    DSCN0734

As all ways …

Live Well, Eat Well

Chef “Mother’s Day of No Cooking” Shay

HAPPY CINCO de MAYO – CHALUPA, A FAVORITE OF MINE

 

Hi, this is Chef Shay’ husband. Since Chef Shay is allowing contributors to her blog and today being Cinco de Mayo I want to give you one of my favorite Mexican foods. It is quick and very simple to make. Now, I’m an ole’ Texas boy and raised on Texmex. Most people know this dish as a Tostada. My first Chalupa was when I was about 6 years old as we on the way home from the big city of San Antonio and we stopped in a little town called D’hanis. It’s claim to fame that all the masonry red building bricks in the state to Texas bear the mark “D’hanis.” There are also churches on every corner. Anyway, we stopped for lunch and not knowing, at the age of 6, that much about Texmex, I ordered Chalupas and I’ve been eating them ever since.

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The Chalupa (or if you’re a Californian – Tostada)

For an individual serving

Ingredients

  • 2 corn tortillas (if you got some fresh one – even better – see previous blog)
  • 3-4 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 Can Rosita’s Refried Beans
  • Chicken or Beef cubes (left over from those wonderful enchiladas that were make)
  • 1 cup lettuce – shredded
  • 1 cup Mexican cheese blend (Trader Joes’s)
  • Sour Cream
  • Avocado slices

Heat up the refried beans in a small pot. Get a flat skillet (we like cast iron). Pour the cooking oil on the skillet and heat up. You know that the temperature is right when you throw a couple of drops of water on the skillet and it dances. Place one tortilla on the skillet and let “fry,” flip over as it lightly browns. Fry until tortilla hardens. Remove and place on a paper towel to absorb the access oil. Repeat for the 2nd tortilla.

Once complete. Lay the tortillas on the plate and dress with 2 or 3 large spoon full of the refried beans, toss on the chicken or meat if so desired. Lettuce is the next topping followed by the cheese, a dab of sour cream, and avocado around the sour cream and eat.

I live well – I eat well – I’m married to Chef Shay

VEGETABLE ENCHILADAS -The New Tradition

No Cinco de Mayo is complete without the traditional Enchiladas. Going to any Mexican Restaurant you will find the Cheese Enchilada, the Chicken Enchilada and I dare say the Beef Enchilada. Well you know me – I have a tendency to do the non-traditional. And Yes I did here as well. Try these Vegetable Enchiladas.

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These takes some time but they are so worth it!!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium size zucchini sliced ¼” thick lengthwise.
  • 2 medium yellow squash sliced ¼” thick lengthwise
  • 1 large Portobello mushroom sliced in ½ slices
  • 1 medium onion sliced in ¾” rings
  • 1 cup on steamed or frozen spinach defrosted with excess moisture removed by wringing the spinach dry in a lintfree towel
  • 1 cup of either good quality canned or frozen sweet corn. Fire roasted is best
  • 1 can of Black Beans –rinsed
  • 2 small cans of diced green chilies (mild)
  • ½ cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. Oregano (dry)
  • 2 small cans of sliced black olives (optional)
  • 8 oz. container of sour cream
  • 1 large can of tomatillo enchilada sauce
  • 2-3 cups of Mexican cheese
  • 20 corn tortillas (see previous blog for a great recipe)

Marinade

  • Taco seasoning –  your favorite 1-2 tbsp.
  • ¾ cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 smashed cloves of garlic
  • ¼ – ½ cup of chopped cilantro stems
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar

Prepare Marinade

Place 1st four ingredients of the recipe in the marinade and marinate for at least 1-2 hours or overnight.

Remove vegetables and drain. Grill on your BBQ or grill pan until you have grill marks and vegetables are tender.

Allow to cool and chop all the vegetables into slices

Place in a large bowl. Add spinach, corn, beans, chilies, olives, sour cream, half of the cheese, cilantro, oregano and cumin.  Combine.

Take a medium frying pan. I prefer cast iron – and pour about 3 tbsp. of vegetable oil in it. Heat to medium high.

Meanwhile take two 9” X 12” (and you will need two) casserole dishes and pour a small amount of enchiladas sauce in each casseroles.

Place each tortilla in the pan and heat until crisp tender. Transfer to casserole dish, fill with filling and roll placing the seam at the bottom of the pan. Continue the process until all enchiladas are done. You will have to add oil to the frying pan occasionally.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place enchiladas in oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes. Now pour remaining sauce and cheese on top and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Gourmet Tip – if you want more cheese – have at it.  DSCN0706

Remember

Live Well – Eat Well

Tortillas – Fresh and Easy and So Very Good

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for fresh corn tortillas. Why? Because Enchiladas are next on the menu.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of corn flour
  • 2 teaspoons of  lard
  • 1-1/2 cups of water
  • 1 tsp salt

In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt and lard and mix well. Stir in the water and begin mixing the ingredients. You want to form a smooth dough ball. Depending on the size you want your tortillas you want to divide the ball (usually 8-12 pieces). You want the dough to be a little wet. Form the pieces into little balls and place them on large piece of parchment paper. Flatten the dough balls into thin circles with your hands. Place more paper or plastic wrap over the flatten pieces. Using a rolling pin flatten the dough into about 7 inch circles. They should be about 1/8 inch thick. In a medium non-stick skillet on medium heat, brown the tortillas for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Remove and place between sheets of parchment paper. Repeat the process.

Live Well – Eat Well