My birthday week – week 2 of culinary school.

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Last week was a very busy week.  Not only was it my week 2 of my academic culinary career, it was also the week I turned 30.

Since it was my birthday week, I was very fortunate to have been taken out to my favorite Downtown LA restaurants, and to receive a rich and beautiful red velvet cake made by my sister, Riva.

On my birthday, Peyman took me to Water Grill- a wonderful restaurant that serves up some of the freshest seafood in Los Angeles.  They also have an amazing wine list –  they even won an excellence award from Wine Spectator magazine.  We started off our memorable meal with a glass of Pinot Noir and a red Zinfandel, then we devoured the oyster sampler.

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I loved the presentation, with each oyster in it’s original shell – some looked manufactured even, like Ariel’s bikini top in the little Mermaid.  The 3 sauces that were served along with the oysters were mouthwatering…I’m salivating as I type this.  My favorite was the champagne sauce.

After the oysters, we asked for the waiter’s salad recommendation.  He easily convinced us to order a lovely green salad with apricots and bread crisps.  It was beautiful and delicious!IMG_9168

For our main courses, Peyman ordered and loved the Chilean Sea Bass, and I ordered the swordfish, which was excellent.  My swordfish was cooked perfectly, with mini beets on the side with a sweet potato puree that I found to be very nice and surprising.

Swordfish

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We finished our meal with a scrumptious dessert that consisted of a cheesecake, vanilla bean ice cream (I think it was vanilla), fresh fruit and a delightful guava glaze sauce.  It was so good. Between the cheesecake and the ice cream were fine pieces of cheesecake crust, which added great texture and another element of surprise, along with the guava sauce.  This was paired with the recommended dessert wine.  Not sure what it was, but it was sweet, and very satisfying.  Peyman sang the birthday song to me.  It was a lovely meal.  I was a happy 30 year old!

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The next day, Riva and the twins invited me over for a surprise.  They made me beautiful birthday cards and a red velvet cake that I’ve been wanting to try – Bobby Flay’s recipe from his show, “Throwdown”.  He beat the legendary Cake Man Ray with this recipe.  It was good, but I still love the red velvet cake from Lisa Bon Appetite and Every Bundt Cakes.  I am so lucky to have such a loving, caring, and sweet sister that loves to bake and buy baked goodies to share with me!IMG_9218

On Saturday, my friends arrived from Northern California, Orange County, Pasadena, and Santa Monica to celebrate my big 3-0.  We went to my favorite sushi restaurant in Downtown, Izayoi.IMG_9207IMG_9206

I, of course, ordered my favorite green salad with the magical, feel good salad dressing.  Can someone figure out what’s in the dressing?  I love it!  I want to eat it everyday!  I also order my typical yellow tail sushi varieties.  I don’t enjoy tuna as much anymore and I’m allergic to shrimp.  This yellow tail is fantastic!  We paired our Japanese fare with sake, pitchers of Kirin, and I had a Sopporo.  I was happy to hear that everyone enjoyed their meal, well maybe not everyone… Rosy ordered a very authentic Japanese dish that is unusual and strange to outsiders – she ordered sweet potato with a raw egg sauce… when she was moving it around in the bowl, she didn’t make it look very appetizing.  Who knows, she may have liked it.  Like I said, besides Rosy, everyone thought the restaurant was a hit.

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After dinner, we headed over to the mysterious and “exclusive” club, the Doheny, where cameras and cell phones (texting ok) are prohibited.  We met a few folks at the Doheny from school, Bryan Hustle Bowens (the DJ) and Brian (formerly known as Bob).  We danced to House, Deep House, Techno – electronic music.  It was a great time!  Aside from eating delicious food and spending time with all those I value most, I love dancing with this group of girlfriends…we all have interesting styles and everyone’s a great dancer!

As for drinks at the Doheny, I stuck to those with vodka since I don’t get hangovers with vodka.  I forgot the unusual names of the drinks…when I ordered my drinks, all I said was, “I want the best drink you can make with vodka”.  They were very good, sometimes a bit too sweet, and very strong.  After my 3rd drink, I couldn’t believe I couldn’t dance anymore.  My balance was off!

Although I couldn’t continue my love for dance on Saturday night, I was so happy to share delicious food and memories with those I value highly and love very much.  I am thankful and very blessed for all the goodness in my life.  Thank you, God!

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The simplest yet most delicious way to grill. Grilled Swordfish Recipe

During my last 2 years of college I lived a walk away from the beach.  Living by the ocean was so invigorating.  It inspired me to make all aspects of my life full of pleasure.  Not only did I start running every day, I started eating more fresh, healthy, and delicious food because when you eat well, you just feel well.  I purchased a grill and I used it to make wonderful meals.  When you have a simple grill, you can take it anywhere – I can grill at the beach, the Dodgers Stadium parking lot, a camping ground… just about anywhere.  My favorite foods to grill are fish and beef.  Why?  It is so simple.

I want to share with you a very simple and delicious way to grill.  In this posting, I will show you how to grill swordfish.  I use this same recipe to cook my filet mignon, so I’m pretty much teaching you how to grill a filet at the same time.  First, I recommend purchasing fresh fish from your local seafood monger.  In Los Angeles, I recommend Santa Monica Seafood.  My fish of choice is swordfish and second, ahi tuna.  One very important ingredient in this recipe is an actual outdoor grill with actual charcoal. Charcoal gives the fish an amazing smoky flavor and the marinade adds a nice rich flavor.  I use Kingsford charcoal.  I usually serve this recipe with my asparagus recipe and some rice.  You have to try this – you’re going to love it!

Cook Time: 10 minutes    Prep Time: 50 minutes

Grilled Swordfish

Ingredients

2 (8-oz.) swordfish steaks

1 (10-ounce) bottle Kikkoman teriyaki marinade & sauce (believe me, it won’t taste like teriyaki)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a marinade dish, pour in teriyaki marinade and lay swordfish steaks flat into the marinade.  Marinade on one side for 25 minutes. Turn over the steaks and marinade for another 25 minutes.  While steaks are marinating, get the grill started.  As I mentioned above, charcoal helps give the steak wonderful flavor.  Once fish has marinaded, very lightly salt and pepper both sides and place the swordfish on the grill.  Cook until slightly charred, for about 4 to 5 minutes.  Flip the fish over and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes or until just cooked through.  Remove from the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Serve with a side of asparagus or peppers and with rice.  Look for these within my Recipes category.

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