Kicking Back With Checca

Summertime cooking always means lots of grilling. This summer go beyond marinade to boost the flavor of your grilled steak, chicken, and seafood. Since this season is also tomato time, use checca as a simple way to enhance both the look and the taste of whatever it is you’re grilling. There’s no stove or oven required, just chopping fresh ingredients and tossing them together – it doesn’t get any easier than this!

Here are our favorite California Chef checca recipes, and, of course, they are all healthy! In fact, the main ingredient for any checca recipe is tomatoes, which are loaded with antioxidants and Vitamins A and C. Tomatoes are good for your heart, bones, hair, and skin, so try all of the healthy recipes below and see which is your favorite!

 

1. Simple Checca (serves 4)

1 cup seeded diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon minced garlic

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon vegetable broth

Salt & pepper to taste

 

2. Kickin’ Checca (serves 4)

Start with the Simple Checca.

Add ¼ cup chopped pepperoncini.

Replace black pepper with crushed red pepper.

 

3. Cheesy Checca (serves 4)

Start with the Simple Checca.

Add ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese.

 

 4. Lemon Caper Checca (serves 4)

Start with the Simple Checca.

Add ¼ cup capers.

Replace vegetable broth with fresh lemon juice.

 

The choice of tomatoes is yours. Roma tomatoes are a traditional favorite, but with a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes available, it can be fun to choose alternatives. Here are a few of my favorites:

Aunt Ruby’s German Green – Well balanced, and a little zesty. If you’re lucky, these large green tomatoes will be pink on the inside to give added color to your dish.

Cherokee Purple – One of the most popular heirlooms. These look especially beautiful on chicken and white fish.

Sweet Pea – Hands down the cutest tomato ever! Use them whole and they add a little pop to each bite.

Yellow Pear – So sweet and delicious, these really are nature’s candy. There is no need to chop these; just slice them in half.

Combining these tomatoes makes a beautiful presentation and gives added flavor dimensions. Let me know your favorite tomato and which checca you like best. Denise@CaliforniaChef.com

For more healthy recipes, go to www.CaliforniaChef.com

Heirloom tomatoes from
the California Chef garden

 

 

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5 Tips for Actually Keeping This Year’s Resolutions!!!

If, like many people, you follow the January ritual of making new year’s resolutions—and then are stung by the lack of success you have in keeping them—here are 5 tips for making 2016 the year you get things right! These tips are taken from blogs I’ve done on the subject the past couple of years, and I have received so many thank you’s and comments about these blogs that I thought I should share the tips again.

1. Choose Realistic Goals.

This might seem obvious, but many of us trip over this very first step. If you’re of a certain age and saw the recent photo of Christie Brinkley at 60 on the cover of People magazine, and then resolved to look just like her—you’ve already set yourself up for failure. [In January 2014, Christie appeared in a one-piece swimsuit on the cover of People and looked incredible for her age—well, really, for any age. Late last year, she came out with her book “Timeless Beauty,” which includes many recent photos of herself and—you guessed it—just shy of her 62nd birthday next month, she still looks amazing!] If you’ve pledged to strike it rich this year, and given yourself just a year to do it in, you’ve already stacked the deck against yourself. Losing weight or making more money are both perfectly realistic goals, but becoming a supermodel (even an older one) or the next Bill Gates is probably a tad overly ambitious—at least in the short term. Keep your goals realistic, then take the next step.

2. Define Your Goals.

Again, if weight loss is your goal, saying that you’re going to lose weight is not enough. Take a serious, honest look at yourself and come up with an estimate of how much weight you want to lose this year. Write down that figure for yourself. If making more money is your goal, how much? What is a realistic figure to shoot for this year? Write it down. Whatever your goal is, make it concrete and measurable. This way you’ll know what your real goal is; how you’re doing along the way; and whether you’ve reached it by the end of your effort.

3. Develop Your Strategy.

So far you’ve been honing in on your goals. This is when you get to the nitty-gritty of putting together your plan of execution. What exactly do you need to do to reach your realistic, well-defined goals? If you’re trying to lose weight, just contact California Chef and they’ll take care of the rest. Just kidding! I didn’t come all this way just to give ourselves a plug. But, on the other hand, this is a real strategy. We will calculate your calories, measure out your proteins/carbs/healthy fats portions, make your meals to your taste specifications, and delivery them to your home. You just heat and eat.

But whether you call on us for help, or go it alone, you need a specific strategy for how you’re going to eat the correct foods in the correct quantities to meet your goal. Be sure to include a realistic exercise component as well, since this will hasten your weight loss. And come up with a schedule for all of the above.

If you’re going to make your own meals, allocate the time you’ll need to research what’s appropriate, shop for the proper ingredients, and prepare your healthy choices. Mark on your calendar, or app, or however you keep your schedule the exact times you’re going to exercise, whether that’s taking walks at your lunch breaks, taking classes at your fitness facility, or taking the time to burn some calories at home. Keep track of how things are going. If you find you’re not really able to get to your spin class on Tuesdays because of the new Team Meeting at work, or your lunchtime walk buddies come up with too many detours to the neighborhood cupcake shop, make some changes. Your successful strategy is not set in stone; it is a work in progress. If something is not working, make the effort to fix it. Don’t just let your goals fizzle away by not keeping track of your progress and adjusting your efforts as needed.

4. Don’t Get Discouraged by Setbacks.

The road to success is almost never a straight line. Although you should work diligently to keep to your strategy and schedule, don’t be surprised if you goof things up once in a while. You’re not perfect, and you’re likely to hit some roadblocks on your way to your goal. Don’t let this discourage you! If you stumble, figure out what tripped you up, and come up with a tweak to your strategy to avoid such a misstep in the future. Your goal is not to be perfect, but to be better.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help.

Some—if not most—worthwhile goals are best achieved with some assistance. If you’re trying to quit smoking, tell all your smoking buddies, and ask for their assistance in keeping you on the straight and narrow if you feel yourself looking to light up. Exercising is a classic positive activity that is easier to stick with if you’re doing it with someone else—or a group of someone elses. If you know so and so will be expecting you at the gym, or at walk time, or at Pilates class, you’ll be more motivated to show up—even on those occasions when you’re not looking all that forward to doing so.

And if your goal is really something so important to you that you’re willing to make the effort outlined above to achieve it, go ahead and share your goal with the people in your life that matter most. During tough times, they can be there to encourage you to struggle through, and just opening up to them about why your goal is important to you and why you’re determined to achieve it will make you more accountable to the person who’ll have the greatest impact on your success—yourself!

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How to Avoid the Holiday Hangover

Warm holiday season greetings to all of you! Yes, it’s that time of year again, and in what has now become a holiday tradition, I’m re-posting a blog I did a few years ago that always gets a lot of comments and thanks from readers. It’s my own little recipe for maximizing holiday cheer—while minimizing holiday regrets. I hope you find it helpful reading. Happy Holidays!

Enjoying holiday cheer is good. Repeatedly saying “Cheers” and knocking back cocktails all night long—not so much. In addition to being loaded with lots of useless calories, alcohol often leads to lousy food choices (not to mention other questionable decisions). So, limit yourself to maybe one drink at the party or family gathering, and otherwise stick to low-cal soft drinks or sparkling or still water.

Choose what you eat carefully—and then savor the flavor. At parties or get-togethers, consider choosing only those foods that are special this time of year, and skip over the items you can have any old time. Make a point of taking in the look and aroma of your special choices before digging in. Then enjoy them slowly to maximize the experience. Doing so should give you big-time enjoyment with minimal caloric intake.

Don’t forget the stocking stomach stuffers. Yes, enjoy your seasonal favorites, but don’t throw all your good eating habits out the window this time of year. As you’re hitting the buffet table, remember to grab some of those vegetables that are probably sitting next to the dip and help yourself to whatever fruit might be available. Drink plenty of water too. Having these “stuffers” alongside your chosen special treats will help you feel fuller faster, leading to less overeating and weight gain.

Get enough ZZZ’s to balance out the Ho Ho Ho’s. During this hectic time, it’s key to get enough sleep. When you’re feeling run-down or tired, you might be tempted to grab some high-sugar or high-fat foods to try to give yourself an energy jolt. But the rushes that result are only temporary—the pounds hang around for considerably longer!

Give yourself the gift of understanding. The tips above should help you avoid gaining weight this holiday season, but don’t get too down on yourself if you slip up a time or two. Do your best, but acknowledge that this is just a challenging time of year for eating right. Enjoy the company of family and friends, the—perhaps—unexpected good humor of certain usually-world-weary workmates, and the sights and sounds of the season. After all, things will be back to normal all too soon.

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5 Ingredients to Add Flavor to Your Thanksgiving Feast!

At first glance, the typical Thanksgiving feast appears to be a healthy, balanced meal. There’s the lean protein (turkey), the healthy carb (potatoes), and of course, some fruit (cranberry sauce) and veggies (maybe green beans). However, by the time all the butter, sugar, and marshmallows are added, healthy has left the building. But flavorful doesn’t have to equate to fat and sugar. If you’re trying to keep it healthy this Thanksgiving, here are 5 ingredients to make sure you have on hand, and a few ideas on how to use them.

1. Oranges: They’re the color of the season, and a great way to sweeten your sides!

  • Instead of slathering butter on your vegetables, squeeze a fresh orange over them. Veggies like green beans, butternut squash, carrots, and broccoli will all taste great. Grate some zest on top as the finishing touch.
  • Cut down on sugar by adding a little orange juice and diced oranges to your cranberry sauce.
  • Grains like brown rice, barley, and quinoa also taste delicious with some squeezed orange juice instead of added oil or butter.
  • Use orange garnishes for your serving trays, or add orange slices to your water glasses.

2. Cinnamon: Having the aroma of cinnamon in your home is reason enough to use it!

  • You won’t even miss the marshmallows when you whisk some cinnamon into your mashed sweet potatoes.
  • Toss some cinnamon in with your carrots and butternut squash to enhance the natural sweetness of your vegetables without having to add brown sugar.
  • You can cut down on cream and sugar if you brew cinnamon in your coffee (cinnamon sticks make great stirrers).
  • Sprinkle a little on top of the whipped cream on desserts.

 3. Ginger: A little ginger can provide a lot of flavor. When your food is flavorful, you’ll find you don’t need to add as much butter, oil, sugar, or salt. You can use minced fresh ginger or powdered ginger.

  • Spice up your turkey gravy with a little ginger.
  • Kick-up your carbs like mashed sweet potatoes or any grain.
  • They’ll be craving your cranberry sauce with ginger.

 4. Roasted Garlic: Roasted garlic actually has a creamy texture similar to butter. So think about using it in a dish where you may substitute it for butter, or at least part of the butter. Some possibilities are adding it to mashed potatoes, any vegetable, stuffing, or grain. You can even spread it on bread!

 5. Sage: Dried sage leaves have a smoky flavor similar to bacon—without all the fat! You can add these to stuffing, mushrooms, gravy, and roasted potatoes with adding no significant calories.

Best of all, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one of the above ingredients per dish. Try combining them and see which ones you prefer together. Have fun experimenting and have a happy Thanksgiving!

 

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Happy 10-Year Anniversary, California Chef! Now What?

As I wrote in my last blog, this month marks the 10-year anniversary of California Chef! Getting here has been an exciting, challenging, and highly rewarding journey, but as we look back on the ride, we’re also planning for the road ahead. So here I share my thoughts on transitioning from reaching one milestone to setting course for the next.

I still love what I do! Although running California Chef has been the most demanding professional challenge I’ve ever taken on, I still love it. As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we have the strongest team in place that we’ve ever assembled. Everyone here is dedicated to doing their very best every day to ensure that our clients get exactly what they need to meet their dietary goals. I still love relaying to our entire staff the many calls and emails we get from satisfied clients detailing how we’ve improved their lives. In short, I still get a great feeling from helping people—be they celebrities, world-class athletes, high-flying executives, time-crunched moms, or simply hardworking Southern Californians like myself—improve the quality of their lives by taking the hassle out of eating right, the convenient, delicious, California Chef way!

We still have much to accomplish! Making it this far has been a wonderful accomplishment. Only 9% of all start-ups ever make it to Year 10, and we had the added challenge of struggling through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression to get here. But there is much more to do. We want to broaden our network of doctors and other health professionals so that those patients that can substantially benefit from changes to their eating habits get the help they need to easily transition to a healthy diet that still tastes great! I’ve wanted to write my own cookbook for years, and still haven’t found the time to do so. That goal is moving up on my priority list this year! We want to inform even more people in the greater Los Angeles area that we are here to help them meet their dietary needs—whatever they might be—the convenient, delicious, California Chef way! We want to expand our philanthropic efforts to help put an end to hunger in Los Angeles’ most vulnerable communities!

I’m not too proud to ask for help! Even though we’ve come this far, we still operate on razor-thin margins that leave us scant resources to spread the word about our service. If you’re a current client who loves our service, please don’t be shy about telling your friends, family, and co-workers about the important changes we’ve helped you make in your life. If you’re a doctor or health professional just finding out about what we have to offer, please contact us to learn more about how we can work together to improve the health of your patients. If you’re a business looking for ways to help your employees improve their quality of life, ask us about workplace discounts we can offer to members of your team. If you live in the greater Los Angeles area and want to try our service, click on the “Sign Up Now” tab at the top left of this page, mention this anniversary blog on your sign-up form, and we’ll give you a special anniversary discount! Even if you simply enjoy reading our blogs, please retweet them or share them with your Facebook friends. We thank all of you for your help!

Our staff and clients make all the difference! Everyone here on our team plays a critical role in making sure that the food we prepare is the best it can possibly be and the most appropriate for each individual client’s unique needs. Whether it’s painstakingly selecting the best ingredients, carefully planning menus that provide enticing flavors and interesting variety, applying just the right cooking technique to accentuate what each ingredient has to offer, or consistently providing timely delivery with a friendly smile, everyone here at California Chef does their best to offer the best to our clients. But if it wasn’t for our wonderful clients who appreciate the food we prepare and the results that we help them achieve, all of our work would be for naught. So I once again give heartfelt thanks to my staff for making their very best efforts, and to our clients for making every effort worth it! You have my word that I’ll do everything I can to make the next 10 years of California Chef even better!!!

 

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Happy 10-Year Anniversary, California Chef!

It is hard to believe that California Chef has been providing healthy, customized meal delivery for 10 years! Because we’re a local, family-run business that takes the time and effort needed to focus on the personal touch, sometimes it still feels like we’re a start-up. And, as California Chef reaches this major milestone, so many thoughts come to mind.

Wow, we’ve come a long way! When I started California Chef, on August 1, 2005, I was subletting a small space in a bakery and shared half of a refrigerator. California Chef was just me, and I did everything: developed recipes, shopped, cooked, cleaned, delivered, billed, responded to all customer emails and phone calls, created and revised web-site content, and devised and implemented all marketing efforts. And I didn’t even pay myself (or, more accurately, couldn’t even pay myself). Now, 10 years later, I employ a cadre of chefs, an administrative team, and a delivery crew. We operate out of a full kitchen, with a full office, and have multiple walls of refrigerator space. We’ve gone from providing our service to a handful of close-by clients to offering our service throughout the greater Los Angeles area: from Thousand Oaks to Palos Verdes, from Malibu to Pasadena!

I am proud of our work! Yes, our food is delicious, but because California Chef specializes in providing healthy meals, we have also helped thousands of people lose weight and enhance their wellness. Clients have thanked us for helping them significantly improve their cholesterol readings, lower their blood pressure, stabilize their blood sugar, decrease inflammation, recover from surgery, eat properly during pregnancy, maintain their strength and appetite while undergoing cancer treatments—and even finally fit back into their little black dresses.

We have done some fun things! We’ve had the pleasure of cooking for iconic celebrities such as Dwayne Johnson and Billy Crystal, numerous other movie and TV stars, professional athletes, singers, song writers, fashion designers, producers, directors, video game creators, authors, . . . and the list goes on. We’ve cooked for a TV show, helped write a book, helped Dr. Phil get results for his book, taught nutrition to underprivileged youth, had an internet radio show, visited many companies in LA to talk about eating healthy, shopped farmers markets in many countries, and discovered delicious regional fare that inspired new recipes we use to make delicious, nutritious meals for our clients.

A lot of people helped us get here! When I started this business, I had lots of friends who donated their time to help me out in the kitchen. One of those friends, Lori Corbitt, became Employee Number 2. Shortly thereafter, my husband Michael took the plunge and became Employee Number 3. We have added many gifted employees since. It takes a certain type of person to work in an entrepreneurial food company, and I am grateful to the talented individuals who have taken on this challenge with me. I thank everyone who has been part of our team and has contributed to our success by working hard, adhering to the highest standards, improving our systems, being flexible, wearing numerous hats, and putting in many long hours. And I give thanks to every client who has ever ordered from California Chef, especially those who have stayed with us over many years!

At this time of reflection, I am also reminded of a special kindness shown to me by my mother-in-law, Halyna Macuk, 10 years ago. I didn’t ask for it, and we had never discussed a need for money, but out of the blue, she sent me a check that happened to be the exact amount I needed to finalize my start in this venture. That sweet, wonderful woman passed away last month, and in her memory, I will be making a donation to help some other woman with a dream start a business through KIVA.org.

To be continued . . .

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Kiwi: A Love Story. No, Seriously.

Before I ever lived in California, I visited here with my family when I was just a sophomore in high school in a little town in Maryland. We came out to spend some time with my aunt, uncle, and cousins who lived here, and then we all took an ambitious road trip together to a few of the major natural attractions of the great west, including Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. The visit was great and the road trip was awesome. The combo began my love affair with California, which led to my love affair with UCLA (where I enrolled after high school in order to get back to California), which led to my love affair with my amazing wife Denise, whom I met at UCLA before we even took our first freshman class together. But even before any of these major loves developed, that first California trip introduced me to another love that, while not as key to my life as the others, I’ve still enjoyed ever since: kiwi!

On the first day of our trip, my aunt made us a delicious lunch that started off with a fresh fruit salad that, among the obvious California bounty, also contained some exotic-looking, green-fleshed circles that I had never seen before. They had a lovely sweet-tart taste and appealing texture, and I was hooked. What I didn’t know then was what a healthy treat they are. Kiwis are one of the best sources of antioxidant vitamins available, packing a potent punch of Vitamin C and healthy helpings of Vitamins A and E. All three help protect our DNA against the threats posed by our encounters with pollution and toxins. In addition, Vitamin C helps fortify the collagen in our skin, Vitamin E helps with nerve function, and Vitamin A helps prevent the formation of cataracts. Kiwi is also a surprising source of omega-3 oils, with a single fruit yielding 32 milligrams!

If you’ve never had kiwi or need a refresher on how to pick good ones, look for the fuzzy brown fruit that looks like what we have pictured here. To check for ripeness, squeeze the fruit gently, and select those that yield a bit, but don’t feel soft or mushy. Reject those that have visible nicks or cracks. When you’ve brought home the ones you want, wash them, then peel them with a paring knife, cutting just deep enough to get below the thin brown skin. When peeled, the edible part of the fruit will reveal itself as uniformly green on the outside, with a white core in the center, surrounded by tiny seeds. You can eat everything but the fuzzy brown wrapper.

You can enjoy kiwi all by themselves, or slice or cube them up in fruit salads, or toss them into a yogurt with the berries of your choice. Obviously, you’ll come up with other fine uses on your own. But if you’re having kiwi for the first time, be careful: You might just fall in love.

 

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Strawberry Arugula Salad

Strawberries are now in peak season here in Los Angeles, and one of my favorite ways to enjoy them are in a simple salad with arugula. Arugula is perfect for hot summer days as its peppery flavor has a natural cooling effect. And, like other leafy greens, arugula is naturally full of water, making it a food that can help you stay hydrated. These great summer ingredients pair up to make a wonderful salad to bring to a picnic, pool party, or barbecue. Or toss some blueberries on top, and the salad’s color profile shifts into a dish perfect for Fourth of July festivities.

Recipe Serves 8

¾ pound raw arugula

¼ cup Meyer lemon olive oil (such as Katz brand)

1 pinch salt & pepper

3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

¼ cup blackberry balsamic vinegar (such as Chaparral Gardens brand)

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

 

  1. Toss the arugula in the Meyer lemon olive oil with salt and pepper to taste, and place in serving bowl.
  2. Toss the strawberries in the blackberry balsamic vinegar, then spread them on top of the arugula. Pour any remaining vinegar on top of the salad.
  3. Sprinkle feta cheese over the salad.
  4. If you’re adding blueberries, toss them on top of the salad too.

The best part of this salad is that it’s not only beautiful and tasty but good for you too! Even the feta cheese has less fat than most cheeses and provides calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and Vitamins B2, B6, and B12.

Strawberries are loaded with fiber, Vitamin C, magnesium, and manganese. The nutrients in strawberries help fight many anti-inflammatory disorders, lower blood pressure, improve the immune system, and build bone structure.

Packed with fiber, antioxidants, and high levels of Vitamins A, C, K, and B9, arugula helps promote good heart health, build strong bones, protect against cognitive decline, and decrease the risk of cancer. All that at only 10 calories for a 2-cup serving!

The most important step in preparing this salad is purchasing high quality ingredients. Look for bright green crispy arugula leaves, and choose strawberries that are deep red all the way through. In addition, make sure you taste the olive oil and vinegar before you douse your salad in them.

I hope you enjoy your salad! And whether you bring it to your Independence Day celebration or not, have a wonderful 4th of July! Come back soon for more recipes and food-related facts, tips, and news.

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Don’t Fizzle in the Summer Sizzle!

With summer already unofficially here and the solstice just over a week away (this year it arrives on June 21st), it seems like a good time to remind everyone of the dangers of overheating and to give some tips for avoiding the serious health risks associated with overdoing things in hot weather.

As we all know, our bodies have an ingenious system designed to keep us from getting too hot. When we start to really warm up, we start to perspire, and when this perspiration evaporates, our bodies cool down as a result. But when it’s too hot outside and we exert ourselves for too long in such high temperatures, our natural cooling system just can’t keep up, and our core body temperature can rise dangerously high. The result can be heat exhaustion or, even more serious, heat stroke. Luckily, this never has to happen to you! There are tried and true ways to still enjoy your workouts this time of year while minimizing the risk of ever getting dangerously hot. Just heed the following tips:

More H2O is the Way to Go!

Your body needs enough water to keep up with the amount you’re losing to perspiration, so when it’s hot out, drink even more than usual. While you’re exercising, drink 8 to 10 ounces of water every 20 minutes. After you’ve finished, drink at least another 8 to 10 oz.

When the Sun’s Up High, You Lay Low!

Avoid exercising outdoors during the hottest parts of the day. Instead, schedule your outdoor workouts for early in the morning or after the sun’s gone down. If neither time is an option, move your exercise indoors: Work out at the gym or use the air-conditioned mall for a brisk walk.

Dress Right, Keep it Light!

Since it’s not the perspiration but its evaporation that cools you down, wear loose-fitting clothing that will enable air to circulate over your skin. Also, wear light colors, since dark ones absorb the sun’s heat.

It’s Great to Acclimate!

Ease into your summertime outdoor activities. Your body will gradually become more efficient at keeping you cool while it’s hot—but it will take a little practice. Cut down on the length of time you do your workout or the speed at which you do it. In about 4 to 14 days, your body will acclimate. As it does, you can pick up the pace or lengthen the race, but pay attention to what your body is telling you, and don’t get ahead of yourself.

Everyone at California Chef wishes you a fun, safe summer!

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Gourmand Getaway: Marseille!

What happens when a chef and a wine maker go to France? Well, in this case, you get a gourmand getaway that provides so many wonderful experiences and memories that I have to share one with you right now.

Earlier this month, my best friend, Pallet wine maker Linda Donovan, and I set out to experience the specialty dishes and wines of the south of France. We were both hoping to discover exceptional tastes and regional secrets that would inspire us in our crafts.

Our first stop together was Marseille, birthplace of bouillabaisse, the famous French fish stew. What was once a simple fisherman’s dish made from the day’s leftover catch has been elevated to an art form with its own governing charter. Although there is a lot of room for interpretation, the Marseille Bouillabaisse Charter provides certain guidelines and traditions that must be upheld in order to ensure a high standard of quality.

Our first night in town, we dined in the old port at Le Miramar, one of the original restaurant charter members. There, a huge, steaming plate of seafood—weevers, dories, gunards, anglerfish, eel, crabs, and mussels—was brought to our table and displayed before us. It was then taken aside so that the staff could debone the fish and remove the shells from the crustaceans. In the meantime, we were brought delicious thick fish broth seasoned with saffron, garlic, and fennel. We were also left with a basket of crunchy crostini that we were instructed to rub with raw garlic cloves, top with creamy rouille, and add to our broth. Before long, the deboned and shelled seafood was brought back over and added to our individual bowls. Linda chose a 2014 Bandol rosé, Chateau de Pibarnon, to complement our meal, and it was a perfect pairing. The bouillabaisse, the service, the wine—the entire experience was outstanding!

Le Miramar provides the recipe for their bouillabaisse on their website. It is a relatively healthy meal as long as you control your portion size. I admit, I did not do a good job restraining myself the night we dined at Le Miramar, but when I make the bouillabaisse myself stateside, I intend to. The dish has also inspired me to create a new recipe incorporating the traditional soup flavors and rouille: Marseille Shrimp Soup. When I’ve ironed out the details, I’ll share that recipe as well. In the meantime, bon appétit!

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