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Friday, January 31, 2014

My Heart is an Egg

Have you ever seen a heart shaped egg? Click this link and you'll not only see but learn in easy steps how to make Heart Shaped Hard Boiled Eggs yourself. Great idea for Valentine's Day!

The eggs at the Farmers Market in Hawthorne are from Gama Farms and La Bahn. Each have their loyal following.

I regret when I don't anticipate and in a pinch have to buy from our local grocery store. The eggs don't have the flavor and color for my cooking and baking.

/Directions to make a Hard Boiled Egg into a Heart

Monday, January 20, 2014



Thick or thin? What do you look for? Working on the East coast I kept looking for the thin variety found in the spring farmers markets of Southern California. Thicker stalks of Asparagus ruled the market and my cooking adjusted. Asparagus is classified in the Lily family, cousin to the Allium as in garlic and onions. You'd think with every state being able to grow Asparagus it would be native to the US. Not so. Asparagus is an import, native to most of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia, 

When shopping at a Farmers Market produce is most often harvested the day prior to market. So you don't have to cull through the offering. What you are  looking for
are stalks of asparagus that are firm and tips hydrated. Damage to the tips or oxidation is not a good sign. The color should be consistent with no sign of pigment change due to temperature change.

Asparagus is best enjoyed immediately after purchasing.
Below are three methods to obtain freshness

  1. Asparagus may be stored for longer periods of time simply by placing bundled stalks upright in a bowl or dish with and inch of water (or just enough to keep the stalks moist).
  2. Is to wrap the cut ends of Asparagus in a moist paper towel. To trim the fresh asparagus about cut about a 1/4 inch at the stem and wash in warm water several times. Pat dry and place in moisture-proof wrapping like plastic wrap. Cover Refrigerate and use within 2 or 3 days for best quality.
  3. To maintain freshness, wrap a moist paper towel around the stem ends, or stand upright in two inches of cold water. 
Bottom line to keep asparagus fresh, keep it clean, cold and covered.

Two of my favorite ways to cook asparagus for taste and time in the microwave, 

Steamed Asparagus - Crisp

Prep Time:
5 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
4 min
4 servings


  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, 1 to 1 1/2 inches cut off the bottom
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Pour or spritz the water onto 4 paper towels. Spread out the paper towels and lay the asparagus on top of the dampened towels. Sprinkle with the salt. Roll up the asparagus in the dampened towels. Lay the bundle, seam side down, in the microwave. Microwave on high until the asparagus is just crisp tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the microwave using tongs and carefully unwrap. Arrange on a serving platter and serve immediately.

Steamed Asparagus - Tender

Prep Time:
5 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
7 min
4 servings


  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, 1 to 1 1/2 inches cut off the bottom
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Place the asparagus in a microwave dish. Cover with water. Use the plastic wrap to secure. Microwave on high until the asparagus is tender, about 3 to 7 minutes. Color should be a bright green. Remove from the microwave using tongs and carefully unwrap. Arrange on a serving platter and serve immediately. 

Current deals on FAVADO
Plastic Wrap
Paper Towels
Salt Kosher

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mark & Brian Get Stoned Friday

Grower at the Riviera Village Farmers Market!
 For those Mark & Brian Radio Show Fans you won't be suprised to hear that they'd be talking about getting Stoned during the AM Drive time. Last Friday they received a sampler basket of Stone Fruit from the Farmers Market! Included cherries, peaches, apricots & plums representing the seasons flavorful best.  From George in the front office (aka George's Man Cave) to Ted the producer they couldn't have been nicer.  The enclosed note with the basket was in playful Mark & Brian speak in hopes of getting their attention and a word on air about the world of Farmers Markets!!! More to come!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hollywood Salad Bowl

You know it's summer when you've been to the Bowl. The following Salad was my contribution last nights picnic at the Hollywood Bowl.
Thanks to our Farmers it was a hit!
The evening was tremendous. It was A Beetles Celebration with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conducted by Thomas Wilkins (love him!!!) and special guests Patti Austin, Rob Laufer, Bettye LaVette (must add to my IPod), Todd Rundgren, Brian Stokes Mitchell (Wowza!)
Hollywood Salad Bowl with Blackberry Vinaigrette
Yield: 4+ servings
1 tablespoon olive oil - Olive Press
1 tablespoon minced shallots - Gama Farm
1 teaspoon minced garlic - Vang Family Farm
1 pint fresh blackberries, plus extra for garnish - Santiago Farm
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar - Olive Press
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint - Vang Family
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon - ABC Rhubarb
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup light olive oil
6 cups mixed greens, well washed and spun dry
Mix of Arugula & Amaranth (Chinese Red Spinach) - Vang Family
1/4 Small Red Onion Thinly Sliced - Uristoigi Farm
1/4 cup roughly chopped toasted pistachios - Peanut Dude
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced - Gama
1 Lemon Cucumber thinly sliced - Capay Organic
1 Cup of Chilled Chicken Cubed (poached in lemon water) - La Bahn Chicken & Eggs
In a large skillet, heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the blackberries and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the vinegars and cook until reduced by half, about 30 seconds.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender. Add the sugar, mint and tarragon, and process to a smooth paste. Add the salt and pepper. With the machine running, add the light olive oil through the feed tube and process until smooth.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl and refrigerate until completely cool, about 1 hour.
To make the salads, in a large bowl, combine the greens with the pistachios and toss with the vinaigrette until lightly coated. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To plate, divide the greens among 4 plates and top with the goat cheese & chicken. Arrange sliced red onion, omatoe, & avocado slices decoratively around the edges, and serve. Garnish with extra blackberries.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Anza Elementary School FAST FOOD Challenge

Last week we went to the Anza Elementary School with the FAST FOOD Challenge during lunches.  Students that had FAST FOOD (ex: apples, oranges, celery etc.) in their lunch and ate them of course became FAST FOOD Challengers and entered to win Dodger Game Tickets!

Today we returned for their end of year assembly to award the winners!

What a great event and great way to send the message of healthy food choices!

Here are the winners!

Much Thanks to Mrs Nitsos!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The FAST FOOD Challege Debut!

The FAST FOOD Challenge TM Debuted at the Hawthorne Health Fair & 5K.  Counted 285 raffle tickets with an estimated 100 more.  Is that unbelievable or what?  

We'll be announcing and awarding the Raffle winners of the DODGER Game Tickets this Saturday!!! Come out to the Hawthorne Del Aire Farmers Market home of the Original Fast Food and play with food.  Yes Play with food this Saturday using an orange hit the FAST FOOD target to enter to win 4 Tickets to a DODGER GAME! Awesome!!!

GO Grill GO!

Go Grilling!

Spending more time outside and not just on weekends? Grilling is amazingly easy & gives fruits and veggies a smoky-sweet flavor.

Here's what you need to know to master the technique.

Watch the video for grilling how to's


  • Vegetable oil
  • Vegetables or fruit to be grilled
  • Salt and pepper


    • Metal grill brush
    • Soft cloth for oiling grill grates
    • Nonstick grill foil (per recipe)
    • Hot pads
    • Long barbecue fork & tongs
    • Slotted spatula
    • Basting brush
    • Cutting board
    • Knife
    • Kitchen fork
    • Prep & serving platters


    Step 1

    1. Mise en Place

    Preheat grill on HIGH 10 min (if using charcoal grill, HIGH is barely gray coals with ash).
    Clean grill with wire brush. Using soft cloth, coat grill grate lightly with vegetable oil. A faint smoke indicates grill is ready. To prevent flare-ups, make sure oil doesn’t drip into flames.
    Cut produce into roughly equal pieces. (Blanch slow-cooking veggies, such as artichokes, to shorten grilling time.)
    Drizzle produce to lightly coat with basting oil.
    Adjust heat (MEDIUM or LOW usually best).

    Step 2

    2. Sear

    Sear skin on all sides.

    Step 3

    3. Cook

    Grill, turning every 1-2 min, using tongs to keep produce intact.
    Check doneness by piercing with paring knife — knife should enter easily with no resistance.

    Step 4

    4. Finish

    Transfer to clean platter. Look for lightly browned (not charred), tender produce with
    grill marks.

    Vegetable Grilling Guide
    Use this chart as a general guide for preparing and grilling times.
    The easiest way to tell if vegetables or fruits are cooked is to pierce them with a kitchen knife or fork. If the utensil goes in easily, the items are done.
    PreparationGrilling Time
    ArtichokesTrim tough outer petals,
    halve lengthwise;
    blanch until tender
    8 to 10 min.
    AsparagusTrim tough end6 to 8 min.
    CornSoak ears in water 20 to 30 min (leave in husks)30 to 40 min.
    EggplantSlice 3/4 inch thick8 to 10 min.
    Fennel (Anise)Remove leaves;
    cut bulb into quarters
    10 to 12 min.
    LeeksHalve lengthwise; rinse well10 to 12 min.
    GarlicWrap whole bulb in foil;
    place over indirect heat
    30 to 40 min.
    MushroomsLeave whole6 to 8 min.
    OnionsPeel; cut n halves or quarters; skewer15 to 20 min.
    PeppersCut in halves or quarters; remove seeds10 to 12 min.
    Potatoes (white, yams)Slice 1/2 inch thick15 to 20 min.
    Squash, summerHalve lengthwise or slice
    1 inch and skewer
    8 to 10 min.
    TomatoesSkewer quarters and cherry tomatoes; halve plum tomatoes lengthwise3 to 5 min.