A Girl & Her Food


Ludo Lefebvre's Mussel Velouté with Curry from #SobeWFF Kitchen Aid's Culinary Demo

At SobeWFF,  I was lucky to meet and chat with Chef Ludo Lefebvre.  Everyone knows Ludo is handsome, has a sexy French accent and kills it in the kitchen.  The mussel recipe he demonstrated at the Kitchen Aid Culinary Stage will make a feast of your five senses.  It is truly extraordinary.  I apologize it has taken me so long to post this recipe, but due to the shortage of mussels I was not able to get my hands on any for a while.  As always, I want to make the dish prior to sharing the recipe in case I can pick up any tips for you along the way.

Who is Ludo?  
(This Information taken from abc The Taste Website)
 Chef Ludo Lefebvre is one of the most influential chefs in Los Angeles dining, pioneering and revolutionizing the culinary industry. After training in France for 12 years with the great masters Ludovic—or “Ludo”—Lefebvre came to Los Angeles to quickly be awarded prestigious Mobil Travel Guide Five Star Award at two different restaurants, L’Orangerie in 1999 and 2000 and Bastide in 2006. He then went to challenge the definition of what a restaurant is, by creating his uber-popular LudoBites concept, a multi-city restaurant tour. 

Ludo now carries the flag for "refined"dining in Los Angeles with his restaurant Trois Mec, which has been named both Esquire and GQ Magazines list of Best New Restaurants and topped the list for both Los Angeles Magazine and LA Weekly. Additionally Trois Mec earned the top spot on Food & Wine Magazine's Best Restaurant Dishes of the Year for 2013. Trois Mec was recently just named Best Restaurant in Los Angeles for second consecutive year by LA Weekly. In July 2014 Ludo opened his new "Bar a la carte" concept, Petit Trois, which has quickly received serious praise from LA’s top food critics. Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Gold said: “there may be no better plate of escargot in town than at the new Petit Trois.” LA Weekly’s Besha Rodell,  simply said, “the best omelette I have ever had. It is not the only dish at Petit Trois that falls into this category. Let's see, what else? The best jambon beurre sandwich. The best croque-monsieur. The best escargot.”Angeleno Magazine’s Lesley Balla called it “Petit Perfection.”

Not only does Ludo operate the best restaurants in Los Angeles, but he is quickly becoming known as a master of an American favorite, fried chicken, with his highly successful LudoBird concept that stands brightly on the main course of LA’s premiere event entertainment venue, STAPLES Center.
Ludo has been named one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Chefs” by Relais & Chateaux and was nominated by the James Beard Foundation for a “Rising Star Chef” Award. Ludo also stars in the ABC hit cooking competition, The Taste, which will begin airing Season 3 on December 4, 2014.
Ludo is the author of two cookbooks, LudoBites, Recipes and Stories from the Pop-Up Restaurants of Ludo Lefebvre and Crave, A Feast of the Five Senses which first edition sold out and will be re-released in a special 10th Anniversary limited edition December 16, 2014. (This Information taken from abc The Taste Website)

Mussels Velouté with Curry

Mussel Velouté with Curry 

6 appetizer servings 


1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 cup good-quality dry white wine 
2 pounds of black mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder 
4 fresh chervil springs 
4 fresh peppermint springs 


Melt the butter in a heavy 5-QT pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the wine; bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the mussels. Cover and cook just until the mussels open, about 2 minutes. Stir the mussels in the cooking liquid and cook for 2 minutes longer. Discard any mussels that do not open. Using tongs, transfer the mussels to a large bowl; cover loosely to keep them warm. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer and into a large glass measuring cup; discard the shallots. Return the cooking liquid to the pot. Add the cream and the curry powder. Cover and steep for 5 minutes over low heat.  Divide the mussels and cooking liquid among 4 wide shallow bowls. Garnish with the chervil and peppermint. Serve immediately. Enjoy! 


Help Donate Pasta to Northern IL Food Bank #RanaRavioliChallenge for National Ravioli Day!

When Giovanni Rana asked me to help in a day-long social media celebration of ravioli and charitable giving today as it's National Ravioli Day! 
Giovanni Rana, synonymous with authentic, Italian pasta, is partnering with your local food bank to fight against hunger and encourage spending time with family and friends during the #RanaRavioliChallenge.

Giving back to my community is very important to me. #agirlgivesback 

Do you know that 1 out of 5 people are hungry??

I am VERY lucky to have every meal, every day provided. Please join me help solve hunger by simply using a hashtag and Rana will donate pasta to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. 

I ask you today to head onto your social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and use the hashtag #RanaRavioliChallenge and Giovanni Rana will donate 1LB of pasta to the Northern Illinois Food Bank! 


Butternut Squash Fries with Curry Dipping Sauce

Let's be honest here, there is no true substitute for the classic french fry.  But if you are going to go in that direction, I will tell you, sweet potato fries are out, and butternut squash fries are in! Not only are they lower in carbs than sweet potatoes, but they also oven-roast to such a delicious and crispy state that I promise you will be impressed and glad you made the switch.  If you dip 'em in curry sauce... Wowzers!  That's all I can say.  Curry + Butternut Squash is a match made in heaven.   Trust me.  I use a curry dipping sauce made with kefir and veganaise, and is actually super healthy for you. With each dip in the curry sauce, you get probiotics and calcium from the kefir, omega 3-acids from the veganise, and the spices that make up the curry help fight Alzheimer's and cancer. 

Butternut Squash Fries + Curry Dipping Sauce 


1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into evenly-sized fries 
Olive oil to toss 
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, place the cut butternut squash and drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Also your hands to coat and toss evenly. Pour fries onto a rimmed baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt or pepper.
Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully flip fries over using tongs.  Bake for 20 minutes more or until tender and browned on edges.

Curry Dipping Sauce 

1/2 cup of plain unsweetened kefir

1/8 cup of Veganaise (healthy substitute to  mayonnaise) 
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon lime juice or juice of 1/2 lime 
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Note: You can substitute Kefir with Greek yogurt 1 1/2 cups not not use Veganise. 


In a medium bowl, mix together the kefir, veganaise, curry powder, lime juice,  salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. You want the dipping sauce to be smooth and not clumpy. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Enjoy! 
(I LOVE Lifeway Kefir)


Halibut Ceviche with Avocado

We had a taste of 70-degree weather yesterday that made me crave a cold margarita and ceviche, while sitting al fresco in the warm sun. Luckily for me, Whole Foods is having a sale on halibut, so I picked some up to make an afternoon snack. This refreshing dish is surprisingly really easy to make, and sure to make you dream of summertime.

Halibut Ceviche with Avocado 
Serves 4


For the ceviche:
1- 6 ounce wild-caught halibut fillet, deboned and skin removed, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice
Lemon zest of one lemon
1/4 cup of fresh lime juice 

For the "Salad": 
Juice of two large limes
1 tomato, diced 
1 serrano chile, finely minced 
2 Tablespoons, fresh cilantro chopped (if you don't like cilantro use parsley) 
1 small avocado, pitted and diced 
4 green onions, white and light green parts only, sliced 
1/2 teaspoon of agave nectar 
1 Tablespoon of olive oil 
Salt and fresh ground pepper 
Lime wedges to serve 

Fresh jicama slices or Tortilla chips


For the ceviche:  
In a glass or ceramic baking dish, combine the halibut, lemon juice, lime juice, lemon zest and salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate for approximately 3 hours.  Halfway through the "cooking" time, stir up the mixture to redistribute the marinade. 

For the "salad": 
I will generally hold off on this step until when the ceviche is almost cooked and I am ready to serve the dish. 
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the tomatoes, chiles, avocado, green onions, cilantro, agave, lime juice and olive oil. Stir to mix well.

Combine the ceviche and the salad together in the bowl, and mix well. Spoon into serving glasses to immediately enjoy.  Tortilla chips or jicama slices are great tools to scoop up the ceviche.  Enjoy!


Greek Chimichurri and Eggs

The way you start your day is crucial to how your day will take shape.  Its so important to get some good fuel in your body.  Last week, I started my morning with a sunny-side up egg topped with a Greek-style chimichurri.  After I posted a photo of it, I had so many people ask me how I make such a perfect looking egg.  It got me thinking to what my secret was, and after a bit of thought I had no other answer than experience and practice. In truth, it took a long time before mastering a perfect egg.  After doing a bit of internet snooping, I saw so many references using oil, maybe water, butter, this or that.  Everyone has a different take on it.  The only thing I can share with you is my own take.   
And in my opinion, it all comes down to cracking your egg on a pan that has been heated to the perfect temperature.  If you put the eggs in a pan too hot, or too cool, your going to wind up with an eyesore.  When you crack the egg, you should see a change in color instantaneous with the clear whites hitting the pan.  I generally use a non stick pan with a little bit of melted butter to coat the entire bottom.  


- a lid can help control heat and cook the yolks.  If its too hot, no lid.  If you need the whites and yolk to cook, add the lid.

- add a few drops of water to your hot pan while the eggs are cooking.  The water will turn to steam, the steam gets trapped under the lid, and your egg yolk will develop a little cover while still remaining super runny inside.

- some sort of little plastic or rubber spatula/spoon.  I don't use metal because it can ruin the surface of the non stick pan.  You can take whatever utensil you decide on, and spread or polk holes in the egg white while it cooks.  This way, you can get uncooked whites to fall into this area, make contact with the pan, and cook faster.

I generally use a combination of, or any of the 3 tips above if I am not happy wight he way my egg is cooking.  Experience and practice will tell you which method is the best in whatever the situation you are in.  But truth be told, if you get the temperature right when first putting the egg on, you won't have to do anything more than watch it cook to perfection.

Greek Chimichurri


1/8 cup of fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/8 cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/8 cup of fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/8 cup of kalamanta olives, pitted and finely chopped
zest of one lemon, and it's juice
1/4 cup of olive oil or grape seed oil
1/8 cup of red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon of pine nuts, crushed (optional)
Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
Kosher salt and pepper
Crumbled feta to garnish (optional) 


Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Top it your eggs, meat or fish! Enjoy!


Spring has sprung at Macy's so Join Chef Cat Cora for a special Macy's Flower Show Cooking Demo 4/1 at 12pm on Macy's on State


Celebrity Chef Cat Cora will visit Macy’s on State on April 1st  to present a special flower show cooking demonstration, Art in Bloom! (#MacysFlowerShow) The event, at 12 p.m., on the 7th Floor Culinary Studio is FREE and open to the public, but reservations are required as space is limited. 

Cora made television history in 2005 when she became the first female “Iron Chef” on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” Since then, she’s become a prominent figure in the culinary community and beyond as an accomplished author, restaurateur, contributing editor, television host, avid philanthropist, lifestyle entrepreneur,and proud mother of four.

Also, after the demonstration, head to the lower level and explore the latest in cookware and kitchen gadgets. With any purchase of $35 or more in the Home department,* receive a $10 Macy's gift card and a copy of Cat Cora's Classics with a Twist,** which she will sign for you! 

The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required as space is limited.  
Please RSVP to:

Please not the event subject to cancellation or change. *Purchase must be made on April 1, 2015 at Macy's on State Street only. Gift cards and cookbooks will be distributed April 1st. **One per customer, while supplies last, while time permits. Seating is 1st come, 1st served. Macy's gift card valid April 1 - April 8, 2015.

More about Cat Cora

Cora grew up in an intimate Greek community in Jackson, Mississippi, where she developed a passion for the culinary arts while watching her family and relatives infuse Southern spices with Mediterranean delicacies. As a young adult, she acted on advice from her mentorJulia Child, and left Mississippi for New York to study at the Culinary Institute of America. She continued her culinary education in Europe, completing apprenticeships for two of France’s renowned three-star Michelin chefs, and eventually returned to New York before traveling west to Napa Valley, California. 

A successful restaurateur, Cora launched Cat Cora’s Quesituated in South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California and Cat Cora’s Kitchen located in San Francisco International Airport, George Bush International Airport, and Salt Lake City International Airport. In collaboration with Disney, she created Kouzzina by Cat Cora, a Mediterranean restaurantlocated at Disneyworld Boardwalk in Orlando, Florida.  In February 2013 she and RWS Resorts launched Ocean by Cat Cora on Sentosa Island in Singapore.
As a lifestyle entrepreneur, she has introduced two thriving food lines, Cat Cora Kitchens by Gaea and Grecian Delight, as well as the Cat Cora by Starfrit merchandise line. In partnership with MOZO Shoes, Cora revealed her first signature shoe line this past January.
Cora’s on-screen appearances include Food Network’sMelting Pot; Kitchen Accomplished, My Country, My KitchenGreece; Date Plates; NBC’s Celebrity Cooking Showdown; Bravo’s Around the World in 80 Plates; and multiple Disney webisodes.   She also has published three successful cookbooks and one children’s book.
In 2004, Cora founded Chefs for Humanitya non-profit dedicated to reducing hunger worldwide by supporting humanitarian relief and promoting nutrition education. In July 2012, she became the first female chef to be inducted into the American Academy of Chefs Culinary Hall of Fame.

To learn more about Macy's Culinary Council and upcoming events visit macys.com/culinarycouncil. Follow us on Twitter @CulinaryCouncil

"I am a member of Everywhere Society and Everywhere has compensated me for this post; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own." Or it can be as simple as "This is a sponsored post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.


Chicken Suiza Tacos or Fajitas from Rachael Ray at the Kitchen Aid Culinary Demo #SobeWFF

It's no secret that one of my "things" in relation to my blog is to get up close and personal with chefs. So while at #SobeWFF, it was my mission to attend a bunch of culinary demonstrations on the KitchenAid stage where I would have a chance to interacts with the celebrity chefs.  As a home cook, by doing this, I always walk away loaded with a bunch of knowledge and cooking pointers that I would have never of learned else wise.  I promise it will help you recreate the dishes you see demonstrated.

One of my favorite demos I attended was with Rachael Ray.  I adore her  #girlpower!  She is a huge advocate of animal rescue; she is bubbly, sweet and lights up every room she walks into. She is my soul sister and I was lucky to chat it up with her that weekend! 

I will be sharing the recipe for her chicken suiza tacos. It is super easy and fun to make, and the a video can be seen here on how to make it The Rachael Ray Show
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Serves 4

Marinade for the chicken:

2 pounds boneless, skinless white- or dark-meat boneless, skinless chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lime, about 3 tablespoons
3 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika or smoked sweet paprika
1 teaspoon honey or light agave
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper

For the Poblano Pepper and Tomatillo with Crema:

4 large poblano chili peppers, seeded and halved
1 large or 2 small tomatillos, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 scant teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
3/4 cup Mexican crema
Salt and pepper
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 to 1 teaspoon honey or light agave

Soft Tacos/Fajitas

16 6-inch corn tortillas (for soft tacos) or flour tortillas (for fajitas)
1 1/2 cups each shredded Swiss (Emmentaler) and Monterey Jack or Chihuahua cheese
Chopped lettuce or white cabbage
Very thinly sliced radishes
Quick pickled red onions: very thinly sliced 1 red onion, combined with 1 thinly sliced jalapeño, juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper. Let stand 20 minutes.
Cilantro or parsley, coarsely chopped


For the chicken, whisk up marinade in shallow dish, add meat and season with salt and pepper. Turn chicken to coat and marinate half an hour. 

Heat a large, cast-iron or heavy skillet over medium-high. Add chicken, cook 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally, under loose foil then remove to a cutting board. Add stock to pan to loosen drippings, slice chicken and return.

While chicken is still marinating, for peppers, heat broiler and leaving door ajar for steam to escape, char peppers and tomatillo until skins are blackened.
Cool in covered bowl then peel most of skin from peppers and slice.  Finely chop or puree tomatillos (about ½ cup), reserve.

Heat skillet over medium heat with 1 turn of the pan of oil, add onions and garlic, cumin, oregano, stir 2-3 minutes, add crema or crème or cream and reduce to thicken a minute or 2, stir in peppers, tomatillo puree, salt, pepper, lime juice, honey, reduce heat to low or cover pan to keep warm.   

Char tortillas over open flame or in dry skillet over high heat to blister and loosen.  Keep warm in tortilla warmer or wrapped in towel and foil in 175 oven.  Prepare toppings while tortillas stay warm. I prepared my toppings before warming my tortillas so once the tortillas are warm, you are ready to bring it all together.]

Serve slice chicken with poblanos in crema, fill tortillas and top with cheeses, lettuce, radishes, pickled onions and cilantro or parsley. Enjoy!