Lowered Expectations Pasta – It’s What’s For Dinner!

So I started out all ambitious. I nutribulleted some mushroom, minced 4 cloves of garlic, chopped up a shallot, a tablespoon of fresh oregano and thawed a cup of frozen spinach. Into a bowl they go with liberal salt and pepper, too. I follow this up with a cup of ricotta, then mix thorough.

This is where it all goes sideways.

I hook up the kitchen aid, get out my fancy pasta attachment to roll out the sheets and I thought.. DEAR GOD! It’s 6:30 already. What the hell am I doing?

So I stopped, went to the cupboard, and got a box of bowties out. They’re Confluent Boyfriend’s favorite. He says they’re the gentleman of pasta.

Anyway, dinner was .. okay. Not what I had planned, but still tasty. Should’ve just bought the tubes at the store.

Lowered Expectations Pasta

Lowered Expectations Pasta

Top with a bit of reserved fresh oregano, red pepper flakes, and a bit of regret about your laziness.

Posted in Comfort Food, Cooking, French Food, Italian Food, Kitchen Fail, Organic, Putzing in the kitchen | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Confluent Kitchen: Sunday Breakfast Edition

What says late Sunday morning better than a rich, delicious breakfast? Man-sized omelettes!

Man Omelette

Man-sized Mushroom, Scallion, Tomato and Cheddar Omelette

Man Omelette Recipe

3 eggs (preferrably fresh and organic)
2 tsp heavy cream
1 oz quality grated cheddar
2 scallions, chopped
5-6 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

1) Gather mise en place.
2) Crack eggs into a bowl, add cream. Set aside.
3) Add 1 tbsp oil to a hot frying pan.
4) Saute veg until soft, then remove from the pan
5) Add remaining oil
6) Whisk egg mixture thoroughly and add to pan.
7) Move egg mixture around the pan to ensure a pretty, even coat.
8) Once you see the edges of the omelette start to solidify, dump the veg and cheese into the center.
9) As soon as mixture looks fully formed and no longer liquidy, flip one half of the omelette on itself. (Easy right? Hah. I typically use two spatulas)
10) Immediately evacuate omelette from the pan. (I employ multiple spatulas for this too.)

See.. That’s not so hard, right?

Epic breakfast, just add juice and rye toast with strawberry jelly. ❤

Posted in Bad Food That Tastes Great, Comfort Food, Cooking, Food, French Food, Organic | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

It’s official now!

As of yesterday afternoon, I am officially writing for the examiner as: The Burbank Gourmet Food Examiner. What this means is two-fold:

1) I will be officially published by some means other than self-publishing.
2) Fancy food will now be a work-related expense. (Yay for tax writeoffs!!!)

Once I officially publish, I will link it here (and anywhere they’ll let me).

*happy dance*

Posted in Rambling | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

A Confluent Kitchen First.. Dessert!

It’s not often that I foray into the world of desserts and baked goods.. Hell, it’s the first time I’ve done anything other than cheesecake.. but here we are.

A homemade lemon curd tart with whipped cream topping

A homemade lemon curd tart with whipped cream topping

Confluent Boyfriend made a request for spicy salmon bowls again, so I couldn’t very well blog those again.  Instead, I thought.. why not dessert?

Lemon Curd

3 lemons, zested
3 lemons, juiced
4 eggs
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick butter, room temp
1 pinch of salt

1)  Combine butter, zest, and sugar in a bowl. Mix until butter is creamed
2) Add juice, salt, and the eggs (one at a time), mixing thoroughly.
3) Heat over medium heat in a sauce pan, stirring constantly to avoid curdling the eggs
4) Once curd thickens, which will take about 10 minutes, then chill.


Lemon Tart

A close up of the tart

Crust Recipe

1 and 1/2 cups AP flour
4 tbsp sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1 pinch salt

1) Combine all ingredients into a bowl until combined
2) Press into a tart pan until the bottom and edges are evenly coated
3) Refrigerate for a half hour
4) Dock the bottom of the tart (stab it with a fork a few times)
5) Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown
6) Once cooled, add the curd.. and voila!

Posted in Baking, Cooking, Desserts, Food, French Food, Organic, Putzing in the kitchen, Rambling, Ready Made Items From Scratch | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Spicy Salmon Rice Bowl? Get in my face please.

The other day I was discussing with a friend, how much I freaking LOVE japanese food. Sushi and sashimi in particular. As we were discussing, I decided that a spicy salmon rice bowl existed in my very near future.

Admittedly, this was something that I had from WholeFoods a while back. I decided it was amazing, but maybe not $9 worth of amazing. With some salmon, which was cheaper than 9 bucks for two servings, and some stuff I already had lying around.. I present:

Spicy Salmon Rice Bowl

Spicy Salmon Rice Bowl with Soy, Wasabi Dressing (not pictured)


Spicy Salmon Rice Bowl

For the salmon you’ll need:

2 servings fresh salmon  (if it smells like fish, it’s not fresh) shredded
1 tbsp wasabi paste
1 tsp layu chili oil

For the rice you’ll need:

10 oz uncooked white rice (sushi rice preferrably)
2 cups water
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt

For the dressing you’ll need:

1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp wasabi paste
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 tbsp oil (veggie, safflower, canola. something flavorless)
1 pinch of sugar
1 pinch of salt

For the remainder you’ll need:

1 large cucumber
3 tbsp sesame seeds

1) First fire up your rice cooker, or get the rice on the stove. I’m going to assume we can all make rice here. So set it aside to cool once it’s done.

2) Add the dressing ingredients into a small bowl and whisk furiously.

3) Start shredding the salmon into pieces. This is a good time to make sure your butcher pulled the pin bones. Mine didn’t. 😦

4) Once salmon is shredded pour wasabi and layu oil into the shredded salmon. Combine thoroughly and refrigerate.

5) Chop the cucumber into fine cubes.

6) Toast the sesame seeds lightly until they smell slightly nutty in flavor.

7) Mix the remaining rice (rice wine vinegar, sugar,salt) ingredients in a bowl.

8) Cut vinegar mixture through rice evenly.

It took about a half hour, and turned out really really well. The Confluent Boyfriend said, “We could eat like this every night!”

I agree. A delicious meal for 2, only $10. Winning.

And did I mention I was still eating fish? Well.. I am.

Posted in Cooking, Food, Organic, Other People's Recipes, Ready Made Items From Scratch, Sushi | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Golden Road Brewery: A Unique Twist on a Tradition As Old As Time

I interviewed to be a writer for the examiner.com, because.. hey, why not, right?  I did a review on Golden Road Brewery, a local artisan brewery. It’s really quite an awesome place. If you’re in the LA area, I would recommend checking it out… and also doing the brewery tour if you can. It was super super cool!

Golden Road Brewery - Image courtesy of glendalearts.org

Golden Road Brewery – Image courtesy of glendalearts.org

(article removed, will link back once officially published)

Posted in Product Review, Rambling, Restaurant Reviews, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Leftovers Lo Mein

Today was a busy day in the Confluent Kitchen. I found out I start back to work on Monday (YAY!!), did some revamping on my website, and (of course) fiddled around in the kitchen.

I am still reeling from my excessively awesome farmer’s market haul this weekend. I decided to put some of the excellent green beans I made the other night to some good use in a stir fry that developed into a chow mein because I didn’t want rice again.

Green Bean Lo Mein

A green bean lo mein, heavy on the sesame paste and layu chili oil


Green Bean Lo Mein

8 oz fresh green beans, destemmed and previously steamed (yay for using leftovers!!!)

2 medium carrots

1 large shallot

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 pkg lo mein noodles

3 tbsp sesame paste

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 lime, sliced into wedges

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Layu chili oil to taste

Salt/Pepper to taste

1/2 cup water to loosen the sesame paste if need be

1) Begin by cooking the lo mein noodles according to the package. Nothing fancy to see here.

2) While the water begins to boil, slice the garlic, carrots, and shallot into thin slices

3) Bring frying pan to medium heat, with 1 tbsp of oil (chef’s choice) and add the carrots, shallots and green beans.

4) Let these cook for a few moments until the carrots and beans soften, then add the garlic

5) Add the sesame paste, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. If the sesame paste sticks to the pan or stays in a wad, feel free to use some water to loosen it up.

6) Add the cooked noodles to the pan after draining thoroughly.. Toss through the sauce, coating the noodles. Add a smidge more water if needed.

7) Turn off heat, squeeze lime wedge over noodles, and dress with layu chili oil to taste.


All in all, it only took about 20 minutes but it was delicious and flavorful. To quote a dear friend… I could not shove this in my face hole quickly enough.

Posted in Cooking, Food, Organic, Putzing in the kitchen, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

.. no one truly understands my delusions of grandeur

quite like Amy Raher. She is wicked funny with access to Photoshop and the interwebs!!

The best part.. my super rad wizard cape.

The best part.. my super rad wizard cape.


Posted in Food, hilarity | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

.. and in a surprising comeback, Michelle – 1, Makhani – 0

…and the crowd goes wild!!

Or maybe just asks what makhani is and why I needed a comeback.. 😀

Mushroom and Paneer Makhani - A tomato based curry with a hint of spice

Mushroom and Paneer Makhani – A tomato based curry with a hint of spice

The other night I had a delightful dish, Paneer Makhani, at the local Indian restaurant. It was a delightful blend of sweet, spicy, and savory all in one. The main ingredient was paneer, a hard pressed indian cheese. I decided that I needed more of that in my life.

I went to the market and bought the appropriate spices.. green cardamom, black cardamom, fenugreek seeds, etc.. I followed the instructions from a website that shall not be named.. and godt something that was.. let’s just say.. boring as shit?

I tend to put a lot of trust in other resources.. especially resources that are websites that have curry in the freaking name.. but I tell you, it had -0- flavor before I fixed it. I also feel like there should have been turmeric in there but the recipe called for none.

I proceeded to doctor it with garam masala and curry powder which turned it into something delightful that I would probably not be able to reproduce ever again. There was a lot of: ‘maybe a little more cream.. and some more salt…. what about more garam masala?  that went on during the doctoring phase. Maybe one day I will actually measure things.

This evening's curry feast, complete with naan bread. Be jealous.

This evening’s curry feast, complete with naan bread. Be jealous.


From the clutches of defeat, I came away with a victory!

Posted in Comfort Food, Cooking, Food, Kitchen Fail, Other People's Recipes, Putzing in the kitchen, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

In a 50/50 combination of channeling my desire for cooler weather through cuisine and taking advantage of this weekend’s local farmers market, I came up with a plethora of summer squash and other tasty vegetables. I decided, rather than the same old BLAH saute or steam, that I would do a gratin.

Vegetable Gratin

Vegetable Gratin: A delightful blend of summer and winter squash in a dill cheddar cream sauce.

1 large acorn squash, diced

1 large yellow squash

4 mini zucchinis (or one large will do.. this is just what I had on hand)

1 japanese egg plant

4 cloves garlic

5 oz. white cheddar

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp fresh dill

Salt and Pepper

I chopped up the veg and tossed it into a casserole dish, salting and peppering liberally. I poured the heavy cream in, along with the cheddar. Add the  fresh dill, and mix to thoroughly combine. Next, sprinkle 1/3 cup bread crumbs on the top, and put it into a 425 degree oven for 35 minutes.

I let it cool for about 10 minutes, then served.  The prep for this was pretty simple. Mostly just a lot of chopping. The most time consuming part of the meal prep was the acorn squash. Since the skin isn’t really edible, I ended up slicing it, then cutting the skin off with a knife.

In hindsight, since my apartment is like a hot box now, perhaps I should have waited until it cooled down a bit.. but oh well. I can’t resist the siren’s call of the farmers market. 🙂

Posted on by The Confluent Kitchen | 2 Comments