Monday, March 31, 2008

Lobster Salad

Painting by Ken Auster

(2 people)

3 lobsters (you can buy frozen tails to make it easier)
1/4 c mayo
1 tbsp grain mustard
1/4 c green onion sliced
1 tsp garlic powder

1 bunch mache
1 c arugula
1 lemon
1/4 c olive oil s and p


In a large pot bring water to a rolling boil. Take your live lobsters and throw them in. Boil for about 8 to 10 minutes depending on the size. They should become bright red, and there should be white foam floating on the top of the water. At this point take them out and let them cool.
Remove lobster from the shell by using scissors and cutting along the inside of the tail (you just want to cut the cartilidge part on the inside and not the red outer shell).

After removing the soft white meat chop it into equal pieces. I like nice large chunks of lobster for my salad. Remove the meat from the claw and save thse as whole pieces to use as garnish on top.

Mix the lobster with the mayo, grain mustard, garlic powder and green onion. In a separate bowl add the mache and the arugula, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and a little lemon juice. Place on the bottom and then put the lobster salad on top. Place the claw meat on the top for a beautiful presentation.

Happy Cooking!

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Ask Mary: Kosher Salt

Dear Mary,
What is kosher salt and how should I use it?

Kosher Salt is a large grain of salt that typically has no additives, unlike table salt, which contains iodine. Like many chefs, I prefer kosher salt to regular salt because the grains are bigger, and this allows for better coverage on meats. Also, kosher salt is coarser, so it does not absorb into the meat. Rather, it stays on top. This gives food a nice and tasty outside. (Tidbit: Salt is used to make meats kosher because it helps to extract juices from the meat – part of the koshering process.)

Happy Cooking!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!

This Sunday we celebrated with a chocolate fountain. It is about a $75 investment for hours of fun. And an easy way to impress your guests.


1 bag chocolate chips
1/4 cup vegetable oil
angel food cake


Melt chocolate and add the vegetable oil once it is melted. Pour into chocolate fountain, check to see the fluidity of the chocolate. If it looks a little thick you can pour the vegetable oil in small amounts at the top of the fountain until it starts flowing smoothly.

Happy Cooking!

For questions and comments please email me at

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ask Mary: Easter Eggs

Dear Mary,
What is the best way to prepare Easter eggs?
Ann Marie

One Easter, when I was about three years old, my mom’s beautifully decorated Easter eggs caught my attention. Sitting in a nice basket, they looked like a delicious treat. So, I crawled up onto the table and stuffed them into my mouth. Imagine my mom’s surprise when she came into the room to find the remains. She still talks about how pleased I seemed, egg shells and all.

It is an Easter tradition to dye eggs. I’m not sure how the tradition started, but we’ve being doing it almost as long as we’ve been celebrating the holiday. Of course, though children may admire the beauty that is a decorated egg, they will probably prefer the ones with coins and chocolates hidden inside. But that’s another story entirely!

I was taught this trick for boiling eggs by one of my chefs in school, and believe me, I was thrilled to discover that there is actually a trick to doing this. If the eggs are not going to be eaten, any boiling technique will do.

However, if you do plan to eat them, and want to make that perfect boiled egg, I suggest you take out the number of eggs you need and first put them into a cold pot of water. Then turn the fire to high until the water boils. Once it is boiling, reduce the water to a simmer (practically no bubbles) and cook the eggs in there for another eight minutes. Turn the fire off and let the eggs stand for another 15 to 20 minutes before removing them.

This technique makes for a perfectly cooked egg with a pretty yellow yolk. Just dye, decorate and serve! Terrific!

Have a great Easter! And happy dying!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Preparing for Easter! Grilled Asparagus with Blood Orange Peels

Preparing for Easter! Grilled Asparagus with Blood Orange Peels


1 bunch of asparagus 
2 blood oranges 
1 bunch parsley (1 tbsp dried parsley) 
¼ good olive oil salt and pepper to taste


Break off the ends of the asparagus, add salt, pepper and olive oil to the asparagus. On a hot grill place your asparagus. Make sure that you do not leave these, they are very delicate and can burn quickly. You just want to move them around until they blacken a bit and are soft. Remove and they will continue to cook. Use a zester (or peel just the orange and red colored skin, not the white part with a peeler and then make this slivers). Sprinkle this on top of your asparagus, and if you want you can add a little bit of parsley to it. For a little extra flavor cut one of the blood orange in half and squeeze the juices over the asparagus.

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ingredient of the Day: Blood Orange

This is a beautiful and untraditional fruit. I was grocery shopping the other day and I over heard a lovely woman tell the grocery store clerk that the oranges were going bad. She couldn’t believe that there were so many bad oranges. As she felt sorry for the produce person I laughed to myself thinking well, those are actually blood oranges and the beautiful exterior is a normal phenomenon and always look like that. I remember my first introduction to them was when I worked at Michael’s in Santa Monica and the chef was making a pana cota with a blood orange reduction. I was so impressed with the use of such a strange fruit.

Happy Cooking!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Checking Chicken Breast

A great way to tell if a chicken breast is cooked right is by turning the chicken on its side and making a length-wise cut. Then you can open the breast to see if it is pink on the inside without ruining the presentation. Good Luck!

Good luck!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What I Cooked Today… Chicken and Mushrooms

This is the recipe from Monday’s Webisode!


- chicken breasts (clean fat first)
- chicken stock
- butter (non-salted)
- mushrooms (sliced or quartered)
- onions (small dice)
- garlic (minced)
- white wine (in the webisode I use boxed)


- Take your cleaned chicken (and salt and pepper) and sear it in a pan with a little olive oil and butter. Remove from the pan and add the onion. Add a little salt. When glossy and aromatic add the mushrooms, and when these are brown add garlic. Once this is all cooked, add the chicken to the pan and deglaze with white wine off the fire. Next add the chicken stock. Cook in a 325-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

Happy Cooking! Mary

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ingredient of the Day: Fava Beans

The Broad Bean is yet another Los Angelino that has opted for a rejuvenating face list. Known as the Broad Bean in Britain, this tiny, tasty green vegetable is known as a Fava Bean in the states.

For those of you who don’t know, Fava Beans are a culinary delight. Even though they are small, they are one of the most time consuming vegetables to prepare – thanks to their large bean-like shell.

Fresh Fava Beans must be first husked from the shell. Then, they can be boiled in salted water – a process called blanching. The next step is referred to as “shocking” – a process where the beans are put into cold water to prevent them from shriveling and losing their lovely smooth appearance. Once the beans have cooled, the outer layer of the skin can peel right off the bean.

The final step is, of course, cooking the beans. Fava Beans can be cooked slowly in chicken or vegetable stock with salt and pepper, and then pureed to create a delicious dip that is buttery, slightly nutty and rich. (Picture provided by Wikipedias Fava Bean)


Friday, March 7, 2008

Ask Mary: Chicken Spoilage

Dear Mary,
How long can I keep uncooked chicken in the refrigerator after it has been defrosted?
Thanks, Barbara

Great question. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell how long you should keep raw chicken in the refrigerator after you take it out of the freezer. I usually keep it for about two days after it completely thaws, and at that point I either cook it or throw it out. If you want to go beyond two days, a smell test it is your best bet. If it’s bad it will smell really bad, and there will be no question that you shouldn’t eat it! But I still recommend cooking chicken as soon as possible after it has been defrosted for a fresher taste.

Happy Cooking,

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Men Don’t Sauté… They Grill!

You’d be surprised at how often the George Foreman grill comes into conversation when I’m on the clock, especially from men. Most of the time people ask me straight out if it’s okay to use one when cooking. What is a George Foreman exactly anyway? Is it a waffle iron? Panini press? Grill?

When it comes to cooking, here is my philosophy: whatever it takes to get you into the kitchen works for me. Cooking can be simple but it takes practice, practice and more practice. The George Foreman, and other similar contraptions, help newer cooks – and cooks with little time – perfect a delicious meal with simple ingredients. The more you try, the better you’ll get.

Men don’t sauté… they grill. Even when they’re using a George Foreman.

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What I Cooked Today… Another Herbs de Provence Recipe with Roast Chicken


1 whole chicken
2 tbsp herbs de provence
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter (softened, by leaving out for 30 minutes)
salt and pepper to taste


Remove the insides of the chicken (heart, liver, lungs), clean with cold water and pat dry with a dry paper towel. In a bowl, mix softened butter, olive oil, herbs de provence, salt and pepper. Heat oven to 350. In a baking dish, put the chicken inside, and then spread the mixture all over the chicken with your hands. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. When the chicken is cooked well the meat will start coming off from the bones, the liquids will run clear, and the internal temperature will be around 165 degrees F.

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ingredient of the Day: Mangos

Lately, it seems that mangos are following me everywhere I go. This beautiful fruit is completely delectable. As a youngster, I found it strange and uncomfortable in my mouth, but over time I grew to love it. Now I appreciate the delightful tingle my tastebuds experience when I bite into a ripe piece.

You’re right. This fruit doesn't seem like it would go with chicken. Except for the fact that mangos make a terrific salsa for chicken when combined with the right ingredients. And, I have recently learned from a five year-old that if you cut a mango a certain way it is called a “hedgehog” – I suppose because it looks like one. Check out the picture to see what I mean.

Mangos are so juicy and mouthwatering that when you eat this delicious fruit the juices literally drip from your mouth. What a delightful change from your standard apple. Tropical, tangy and sweet, mangos are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Extremely versatile, they work great in anything from salsas to desserts.

Happy Cooking!

Monday, March 3, 2008


This week's episode has been moved to Next Monday!

Ask Mary: Cooking Meat

Dear Mary,
How can I tell if a piece of red meat is prepared to medium rare?

The most efficient way to figure this out is to take a look at the meat and watch to see if blood rises to the top. If it does, this is a great indication that the meat is prepared to medium rare. Once the blood disappears, you’ve got yourself a well-done steak. I suggest buying few pieces of cheap meat and experimenting with different cooking times, watching what happens all the way through the entire cooking process. You’ll get a better idea of what meat looks like at each level of preparation.

Happy Cooking!

Send your questions about food, cooking and life in the kitchen to: