Green Leafies Anyone?

January 22, 2015

Rose 4I hope 2015 has been treating you well so far!  The year is starting out great for LA Food Works after a wonderful holiday season. Our  kitchen was so busy up until the weekend before Christmas.  We had some really festive, fun and filling parties.  What fabulous clients we have!!!!  Then, just as the LAFW parties finished up, all my children arrived home for their way-too-short winter break.  The partying continued!  So much fun!  So much food! But we are all back to business now and for me that means not only back to work, but back to a nice healthy schedule of exercise and good food as well.  One of my favorite things to eat at this time of year, but really any time of year, is salad.  I've always loved them.  Salads provide that crunch we all crave without a ton of calories (if you watch the amount of dressing you put on it)!  My youngest son Jake, or Jakey as the family likes to call him, is now a more adventurous salad lover too.  He took a nutrition class his first quarter at UCSB and one of the things he learned was the important benefits of a variety of healthy vegetables.  So now he has a salad with lunch and dinner, and not just chopped romaine with Ranch Dressing.  It also helps that the dining halls at UC Santa Barbara serve some pretty good, fresh food.  It really makes me so happy to see my boy eating his greens!!!!

In this edition, I've got three great SALADS!!!!  Because I eat them so often, I'm on a constant search for interesting new ideas and combinations.  Scroll down and have a look at two of my recent favorites from our and a wonderful kale salad that just never bores me.  Click to go to our website and see our entire menu and if you would like any of the other recipes, send me a message.  I'm happy to pass them along!  Don't forget to keep in touch with all the goings-on in the LAFW kitchen by clicking onto our page and becoming a fan.

Happy 2015!!!! Looking forward to cooking with you all soon! 


Roasted Mushroom Salad with Hazelnuts and Manchego  

Growing up, my boys were not mushroom fans...Zach still won't not eat them, but Jake's taken a liking to them and this makes me smile.  I remember when I first started eating mushrooms as a kid.  They were kind of intimidating but when I finally tried them, I was amazed at how delicious they were, especially sautéed with garlic, salt and pepper then served on top of steaks my dad grilled.  I remember being sorry I'd waited so long to try them.  Well, the same kind of thing happened with Jakey and he likes mushrooms now!  This wonderful salad roasts an assortment of mushrooms to deepen their flavor even more than when they are sautéed.  The endive and Manchego along with a light vinaigrette give this salad a lovely zing.  And what's not to love about roasted hazelnuts?  Featured on our new , this dish is a really interesting twist of ingredients that will excite your table and palette!

1 1/2 pound mushrooms, any mixed assortment tough stems removed
tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
shallot, minced
tablespoons white balsamic or sherry vinegar
cup olive oil
1 head Belgian endive
1 head green leaf lettuce
cup chopped parsley
ounce Manchego cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler into wide curls 
tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed and roughly chopped 

Roasted Mushroom Salad
Source: Sunset Magazine, October 2013

Preheat oven to 400°. Separate mushrooms into small clusters (or if single caps, thickly slice). Pile onto a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Add thyme and toss to coat well. Roast in a single layer until sizzling and browned on the edges, about 20 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.  Keep warm.

Put shallot, a couple of pinches of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and the vinegar in a small bowl. Let sit 10 minutes to soften and mellow the shallot. Add olive oil and whisk.

Slice endive in half and then into thin strips.  Place put in a serving bowl with lettuce and parsley. Season lightly with salt and toss to mix. Add warm roasted mushrooms and vinaigrette and toss gently but thoroughly. Top with Manchego curls and hazelnuts.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 200 Calories; 19g Fat (81.3% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 14mg Sodium. 

Red-Leaf and Celery Salad with Caraway-Seed Dressing  

Red-leaf lettuce has always seemed to me to be kind of an old fashion ingredient.  I remember my grandmother and my mom having it in their salads.  I have not worked with this lettuce in years until recently when I started making this salad.  Not only is it pretty, but it's so fun to work with an ingredient with such personal history!  I added roasted beets and toasted walnuts to the original Gourmet Magazine recipe but their dressing is really cool and not in need of any alteration.  You boil down some chopped onions then blend them together with the rest of the ingredients to create a thick and rich dressing with a hint of rye bread flavoring from the caraway seeds.  Nothing average about this salad which is also featured on our Fall-Winter Menu.  It's a perfect winter salad!

medium red or golden beet

small onion chopped
tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted
teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling

head red leaf lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
ribs celery, very thinly sliced on a long diagonal
cup inner tender celery leaves, coarsely chopped
cup toasted walnuts

Red Leaf Lettuce Salad
Source: Gourmet, November 2007


Preheat oven to 400°F. Place beets in a baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil, then add 1/2 cup of water to dish and tightly in foil. Bake until tender, about 1 hour.

For the Dressing: Meanwhile, simmer water and onion in a small saucepan, uncovered, until onion is softened and most of water is evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Purée in a blender with vinegar, caraway seeds, sugar, mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. With motor running, add oil in a slow stream and blend until dressing is emulsified.  Place in refrigerator to cool until ready to use.

Let beets stand until cool enough to handle.  With paper towels, remove skin of beets by gently rubbing it off.  Trim off any remaining skin with a paring knife.  Slice beets in thin bite sized half moons and reserve in a small bowl.

Place celery slices in a separate bowl and drizzle a couple of tablespoons of dressing and toss to combine.  Do the same with the small bowl of beets slices.

Combine lettuce and celery leaves in a large bowl and toss with just enough dressing to coat.   Arrange lettuce on a serving platter and sprinkle with celery, beets and croutons.  Season again with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 6. Per Serving: 182 Calories; 17g Fat (82.3% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 60mg Sodium.

 Kale Chop Salad   

Kale has been a darling ingredient with chefs, cooks and households for a while now and shows no signs of fading to the background anytime soon because the uses, recipes and techniques to work with it just keep getting better and better.  Plus, it's just so good for you!  The trick to using kale in salad so it doesn't taste like you are chewing on plastic is to break it down by massaging it.  This softens the leaves and helps them absorb some flavor.  It's amazing how it is transformed!  You do just that in the recipe below with a little extra olive oil and lemon juice. This salad comes to us from the Napa Valley Grille in Westwood.  Because I have a lemon tree in the back yard, I love any recipe that makes use of them.  This dish also has some quinoa which adds some protein and the raisins give a bit of sweetness to compliment the tart lemony vinaigrette.  Although this salad was on the menu a couple of years ago, it's still a favorite to make for events and for Jakey! (and Sarah too...of course :) ).

  Lemon Vinaigrette
lemons, juiced and 1 zested, reserving on tablespoon of juice to the side
tablespoons olive oil, divided
shallot, minced
tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
large basil leaves
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 heart romaine lettuce, sliced into thin strips
bunch kale, tough stems removed, leaves stacked, rolled and sliced crosswise into thin strips
cup toasted almond slivers
cup raisins
cup shaved parmesan cheese
  salt and pepper, to taste

Kale Chop Salad
Source:  LA Times, Sept. 8, 2012

For the Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice (all but the reserved tablespoon), lemon zest, 4 tablespoons olive oil, shallot, cheese and basil. Season to taste with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

For the Salad:  Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse under cool running water to remove the outer coating of the quinoa (if not rinsed, the coating can give the quinoa a bitter flavor). Place the rinsed quinoa in a dry sauté pan and toast, stirring frequently, until the quinoa is dry, lightly colored, and has a nutty aroma.

Place the toasted quinoa in the saucepan with the water, reduce the heat and simmer the quinoa until it is translucent and tender and the germ has spiraled out from the grain, 12 to 15 minutes (be careful not to overcook). Drain the quinoa and spread it out on a baking sheet to cool.

In a large bowl add the kale and sprinkle with the reserved lemon juice and extra 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Use your hands to massage the oil and juice into the kale until softened.  Combine the romaine, kale, quinoa, almonds, raisins and parmesan cheese. Add some vinaigrette and toss to lightly coat. Add additional vinaigrette as desired, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 6. Per Serving: 146 Calories; 9g Fat (52.3% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 3mg Cholesterol; 96mg Sodium.


WANT TO USE THESE TIPS AND RECIPES IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you do not alter the information in any way and include a credit that reads "by Rose LeBoeuf,, Interactive Cooking Classes, Parties, and Corporate Team Building Events for Groups Looking for a Fun and Unique Dinning Experience."

LA Food Works Events
Ideal for Team Building, Holiday Parties, Client Entertaining, Birthday Parties, Showers and Private Gatherings.
Let LA Food Works make your party one which your guests will not soon forget!

No previous cooking experience required!
Just willingness to put on an apron,
get your hands a little messy,
indulge in some great food
and have lots of fun playing in the kitchen!

We also happily design Custom Cooking Parties. If you have a group of 10 or more foodies who love great food and playing together in the kitchen, contact us and we will design a custom menu or theme class for you and your group.

Our interactive cooking parties both unify and entertain...perfect for any occasion that requires great food, interesting activities and lots of fun!


For information or to book your event, contact  at 310-288-0100 for an event planning kit, pricing and availability.