Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Celebrity Sighting, Southern Food madness, and a new place in L.A. that I like

Ok, Normally, I don't get too tweaked by celebs... until Ed Asner and Abe Vigoda walk in...

I made shrimp and grits. They were nummy. If you've never had shrimp & grits, you're missing out.

I made fresh strawberry shortcakes, and forgot to take pictures before Gabriel & I demolished them. They were also tasty! For the biscuits, I used a recipe like this, except for some changes:
1- added sugar (evaporated cane sugar, the good stuff from Trader Joe's) about 1/4 cup
2- added molasses, about 1/4 cup
3- added 1.5 tsp of Vanilla Paste, also from Trader Joe's.
4- No buttermilk. Half & half, lemon & skim milk mix (out of buttermilk, but not wasting the amazing fresh strawberry opportunity!)
5- didn't roll & cut. Instead made a squareish dough shape and cut 4 squareish pieces with this scrapey-measurey-knifey-spatulaey thingy I got for free at a yard sale. (Mine is cooler. It has a ruler etched on the blade. Very handy, though. Get one!) I guess I took the scone approach, which made for a nice, light texture.

I then mixed some diced fresh strawberries, raw sugar, more vanilla paste, water, and a touch of cornstarch to make the strawberry sauce. I left it very chunky, and poured it over the split biscuits, added more fresh berries, and added Fair Trade Vanilla Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. Yes, you should be envious. Except that my oven sucks, and the bottoms were burnt. :(

I got the strawberries at the Grand Central Market, which has been open since 1917. I walked out with 2 large bags of produce for about $8. I got fresh cherries and lovely red potatoes and fava beans ($.69/pound! They're $2-$3 at my farmer's market!). Nabbed grape tomatoes, cilantro, and other yummies, too.

Had the most amazing fresh horchata there, which you must try if you never have. Most Mexican restaurants/cafes/stands have it on tap alongside the Coke in the fountain. The fountain stuff is OK, but get it fresh if you can! Technically, horchata could be any of a variety of melon or fruit waters, but the main one is milk, rice, sugars, and cinnamon. Good cantaloupe water is bomb, too!

Funnily enough, the huge fresh horchata cost as much as our entire lunch! We each had a single soft taco that took up an entire large plate! They came with extra tortillas and cost only $2. And they were gooooood! Horchata? $4 for the big one!

I have Kathleen Duey to thank for turning me on to the market. She posted about it on her blog on the June 1st, 2008 entry. I met her that day at Book Expo America, where she was signing her National Book Award Finalist book Skin Hunger. I must say that the book was wonderful, and I'll review it in the near future. And I'm not just saying that because I got a free autographed copy, honest!

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