What will your story be this year?

January 21, 2016

Rose 4Don't you think a fresh plate at the buffet table is a great metaphor for the blank page a new year presents?  When you first get it, the possibilities for filling it are many!  In the case of the plate, you look around. You can't have everything on the table, so you pick and choose what items with which you will fill your dish.  We know we should fill it with the healthy, nourishing and sustaining options, but we want to leave room for some interesting and indulgent bites too.  The days and months of a new year are similar.  Most our time will be filled with doing the stuff we need to do to keep our lives moving along, but hopefully we will also fit in some fun.  A new year often prompts the making of resolutions regarding better ways live our lives, but I, like many, am not really good at keeping them.  Instead, I try to infuse my life with new and fresh themes as well as reaffirm existing positive ones that may have lapsed.  This year I will strive to make my time healthy, uncomplicated, tasteful (and tasty!) while lacing it with sweet indulgences here and there!

To highlight my themes for the year, I've got three delicious recipes to share with you.  Something healthy, something tasteful and elegant and something sweet.  They are all pretty uncomplicated and they are all part of our .  Click to go to our website and see them.  If you would like any of the recipes you see on the site, 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 2016!!!! Looking forward to cooking with you all soon! 


Herb Marinated Chicken Skewers
with Home-Made Harrisa

The list of ingredients makes this recipe look complicated, but it's really not.  It's a marinade for meat and a sauce made in a blender.  You can grill the chicken pieces on skewers, or you can simply keep them whole and pan sear them.  Both cooking methods are delicious and so very healthy.  The harrisa is fantastic too and you can regulate the spiciness by much of the serranos you use.  This sauce does not have to be searing hot.  Start off adding a little bit of the chopped peppers to your blender, then slowly add more until you get the heat you like (making sure to blend between each addition).  The roasted red peppers give it so much wonderful flavor regardless of the amount of heat.  This dish is featured on our and it's been a favorite at many of our events!

For Chicken Skewers
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
tablespoon rosemary leaves, minced
teaspoon dried oregano
teaspoon dried thyme
tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
teaspoon ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

garlic powder to taste
1 1/2
pounds boneless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1" cubes

For Harissa
teaspoon cumin seeds
teaspoon coriander seeds 
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 whole roasted red pepper
1 serrano pepper, with seeds, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2
tablespoons olive oil 
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt, to taste
12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for one hour, or metal skewers

Chicken Skewers

In a large bowl, mix the olive oil with the lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, oregano and ground cumin. Add the chicken and toss well. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

In a small skillet, toast the cumin, coriander and caraway seeds over moderately high heat, shaking the skillet a few times, until the spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool completely. Grind to a powder.

In a blender, combine the roasted pepper with the chile, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and ground spices and puree. Season the harissa with salt.

Light a grill. Thread the approx 5 chicken pieces onto skewers. Season with salt and grill over moderately high heat, turning, until nicely charred and just cooked, about 14 minutes. Serve the skewers with the harissa.

Source: foodandwine.com

Makes 15 Servings. Per Serving: 100 Calories; 6g Fat (52.1% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 26mg Cholesterol; 32mg Sodium.

NOTE: The harissa can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving

Black Rice with Broccoli and Almonds  

What color is most associated with simple elegance and good taste?  Lots would say black.  Stunning to look at and interesting to the palette, this black rice dish is healthy and delicious too!  Black rice has the sweetness and flavor of wild rice but the texture and creaminess of short grain white rice.  It's also very easy and quick to make and you can find it at Trader Joe's these days. To make a main dish, top it with some grilled shrimp or teriyaki beef, but really a wonderful side or vegetarian main dish in it's own.  You will find it on our current Fall-Winter Menu where we make and serve it with our Grilled Game Hens Glazed with Asian Citrus Sauce.  It's one of my favorites this season. 

1 3/4
cup water
1 cup black rice
pound broccoli spears
cloves garlic, roughly chopped
tablespoons canola or olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste
teaspoon Chinese hot mustard
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
cup slivered almonds, toasted
cilantro leaves, whole
scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts.

Black Rice and Brocolli

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a heavy-bottomed medium pot, bring rice, water and a large pinch of salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and cook until rice is tender and water is absorbed, about 35 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, prepare brocolli by cutting it into small florets and peel the stems then cut them into 1/4-inch-thick slices. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss broccoli with garlic, 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and black pepper. Roast, stirring once, until tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer broccoli to bowl with rice. Toss gently.

In a small bowl, whisk in mustard, vinegar, soy sauce, white pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. When ready to serve, drizzle dressing over rice and brocoli then add almonds, cilantro, and scallions; toss gently. Taste and season again with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 servings. Per Serving: 259 Calories; 14g Fat (46.6% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 30g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 190mg Sodium.

 Rustic Tarte Tatin   

Sweet, simple, straight-forward and not at all the time consuming task you normally have when spiraling thin slices of apples to make a traditional tarte tatin.  With this recipe, chunks of apples are tightly packed in a large skillet and first caramelize, then covered with a large sheet of puff pastry.  The whole skillet is then popped in the oven.  As they bake, the apples release their juices and shrink up a bit so they fit snuggly but beautifully in the pan.  The end result is pictured below.  Very little fuss for LOTS of flavor.  Plus, when it's finished baking, and you just flip it over.  The presentation could not be more spectacular!

pounds apples, peeled (Pink Ladies or Honey Crisps work well)
cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
tablespoons butter
tablespoon apple cider vinegar
pinch salt
1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed

flour -- for dusting work surface
pint vanilla ice cream for serving 

tarte tatin


Preheat oven to 425°. Cut apples as close to core as possible into three lobes; set aside.

Scatter half of sugar in a heavy 9” skillet and with the back of a knife, scrape in vanilla seeds; discard pod. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is melted and starting to caramelize, 6–8 minutes (if using a cast-iron skillet, test the color of the caramel by spooning some onto a white plate. It should be pale amber). Add remaining sugar and cook until all sugar is dissolved and has taken on a deep amber color. DO NOT TOUCH OR TASTE THE CARMEL SAUCE AT ANY POINT UNTIL AFTER IT IS FINISHED COOKING IN THE OVEN. IT WILL BURN AND BLISTER SKIN AND MOUTH.

Stir in butter, vinegar, and salt. Place apples cut side down in skillet and cook until they start giving up some of their juices and shrink slightly, 5–8 minutes. Carefully turn apples over and scoot them together so they overlap slightly. (The apples will shrink more as they bake, so they need to be tightly packed from the beginning.) Remove from heat.

Gently roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface just to smooth out creases; cut into a round that will fit snugly and flush inside skillet. Drape puff pastry over apples and transfer skillet to oven.

Bake until pastry is puffed and starting to brown in spots, 20–25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake until apples are tender and pastry is golden brown and cooked all the way through, 20–25 minutes longer. Let rest 5 minutes before inverting onto a platter.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2015
Makes 8 servings.  Per Serving: 443 Calories; 27g Fat (54.2% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 48g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 102mg Cholesterol; 137mg 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, www.lafoodworks.com, 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.