Posts tagged Sam Shaber

And Now, a Word About Farmer’s Markets (and a $21 Challenge!)

I know, I know.  I “ooh” and “aah” about my Farmer’s Market all the time, and you’re like, “Get over it, Punky.  JEEZ.”  So, I thought it would be good to show you why I’m so emotional.

"Vat ah BAAAAGEN!"  (Say it out lound like my Jewish grandfather and it'll make sense.)

"Vaht ah BAAAGEN!" (Say it out loud like my Jewish grandfather.)

I used to be just like you.  That is, if you are the kind of person who goes to the occasional farmer’s market, heads straight to the pastry table, buys a scone or an apple turnover, and then heads-out, overwhelmed by the whole experience.  I FEEL YOUR PAIN, YOUR ISOLATION, YOUR FEAR.  Punky knows, believe me.

BUT!  What I’ve discovered, is that my love of cooking grew with my trips to the farmer’s market, because the farmers themselves would tell me what to make with their produce!  How to bake a butternut squash, what a kumquat is, where you can put dried fruit, etc.  (That sounded dirty, but anyway.)  And the more I go, the more my mind opens and my IMAGINATION ignites, to the point where I’m creating flavors in my head and then seeking them out on the tables.  Sometimes I simply pick something up, a sprig of cilantro, a blood orange, an ear of corn, and just by smelling it, my gears start to turn.  (And I’m sure all the farmers appreciate my nose on their products.)

There is also, of course, the financial benefit to shopping at a farmer’s market.  This week I only had $21 on me, so I decided to see how much I could get for it.  A $21 Challenge!  The picture above shows you my bounty, going clockwise from bottom left, and with prices on the ones I remember.  (Some are by weight and I can never keep it straight):

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Roasted Poblano Pepper Farmer’s Market Burrito! (Poblastically Pepptastic!)

Awww, yeah.  This ain’t your mama’s burrito, people.  THIS burrito is wrapped inside a ROASTED POBLANO PEPPER from the Farmer’s Market!  Kin ‘Ah git a UNGH UNGH!!

POBLUSCIOUS!  PEPPERIFIC!

POBLUSCIOUS! PEPPERIFIC!

Yes, Sunday is Farmer’s Market Day here in Hollywood, California, and I found myself hypnotized by this gorgeous poblano pepper!  (So much so, that apparently I am unable to take a photo that isn’t blurry.)  Chiles Rellenos are my fave Mexican meal, so I have quite the love for the poblano, but had never tried cooking with one myself.  Still, the bumpy, crazy green guy stared up at me longingly, saying “Please Punky Chef, take me home.  I promise to be FABULOUS for you.”  Really, it said that to me.  I mean, just look at it:

Please, lady.  Make me somethin' SPECIAL, won't you?

Please, lady. Make me somethin' SPECIAL, won't you?

How could I resist?  Plus, once I lifted it to my punky nose and inhaled that sweet, tangy, spicy, slightly smoky aroma, the deal was signed.  And then I tried to stuff the little guy with roasted corn, black beans, organic Roma tomatoes, sweet onions and pepper jack cheese, but discovered in the process that it’d be better just to roll the whole puppy up, burrito-stylie.  And so was born the Roasted Poblano Pepper Farmer’s Market Burrito!  The POBLITO!  The PPB!  The Chilito Pobluscious!  Ah, forget it.  Just come with me, already…

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Free-Range Savory Chix n’ Potayduz – One Pan, One Spoon, One Knife. HOLLA!

Okay fine, so the title of this recipe is a little over-the-top.  But listen to me people, this really is a punky miracle dinner: juicy, savory, flavorful chicken and crispy, buttery potatoes done all in one pan and ready in 35 minutes!  Say it out loud for fun times: FREE-RANGE SAVORY CHIX n’ POTAYDUZ!

Seriously, have you ever seen anything so delicious in your LIFE?

Seriously, have you ever seen anything so delicious in your LIFE?

Now, let me start by giving credit for the inspiration for this dish to my all-time chef idol, (and hopefully my future-best-friend), Ina Garten.  (I love you, Ina.)  Ina Garten recently was seen on the Food Network cooking a whole chicken in a big pan with all the vegetables scattered around it at the same time.  “That is genius,” thought one Punky Chef.  But I must say, Ina’s version looks very complicated to me – lots of stuffing and tying-off and tucking, not to mention the hour and half in the oven.  Well THIS punk is just too hungry and impetuous to ever wait that long!  So instead, I have taken the general idea and made it my own… just like Andy Warhol with the Campbell’s Soup Cans, eh?  Ha-HAH!  PUNK IT UP.  (And come with me…)

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Lucky 7 Salad!

Yes… I’M BACK!  I know your life has been empty and hungry without your Punky Chef.  So sing to the heavens, hug thy neighbor, and get EXCITED, people.  I’ve been busy traveling and working on many things happy problem.  (New songs!  Visit www.myspace.com/thehappyproblem.  Sorry, brief promotional moment.)  AND, Punky Chef is now AUNT PUNKY CHEF.  Witness my two gorgeous new nephews – born within 24 hours of each other to my sister and my sister-in-law:

Ryder Punky - doing his very first Elvis impression

Punky Ryder - doing his very first Elvis impression

David Punky - doing his first Johnny Rotten impression

Punky David - doing his first Johnny Rotten impression

So I’ve been enjoying the baby parade for the last three weeks, and am now getting back to my teensy kitchen and starting to cook again.  And just to ease us all back in, I’m throwing this fabboo, quick, healthy lunch at you.  Witness Lucky 7 Salad!

Do ya feel LUCKY, Punk?

Do ya feel LUCKY, Punk?

Yeah, it’s pretty much the easiest ever, thanks to our “7” theme and also to the wonderful people at Newman’s Own for the dressing.  Come with me…

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Free-Range Chicken and Veggie Ka-POWS!

Some call these skewers, some call them kebobs, a cute, freckled English guy I once knew named Luke even called them “ke-babs,” (which of course I thought was as cute as he was), BUT these tasty little numbers are so flavorful and emotionally rewarding that I am now officially re-christening them.  Witness Free-Range Chicken and Veggie Ka-POWS!

They're the stars of the show!

They're the stars of the show!

Brace yourself for the greatest summer barbecue experience of your life.  (Look how cocky Punky’s become!)  And I don’t even own a barbecue grill, (or a backyard, for that matter), so I’m also cocky enough to have borrowed one from a friend.  (Fine my wonderful friend Kate had actually INVITED us over for dinner on the grill, but I was still cocky enough to bring my own FOOD to said barbecue and use Kate to experiment on.  Such cockiness.)

But YOU will feel cocky TOO when you make these, because they are easy, healthy, cheap, and BURSTING with flavor!  So get-cher skewers and come with me…

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Salmon-Feta Salad: Introducing the Steve Lillywhite!

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but names of punk icons make for very good recipe titles.  I made this delicious salad on Friday, with smoked salmon, feta, Greek olives, cukes, shallots and lemon-olive oil dressing on a romaine “bed”, but I haven’t posted the recipe yet because I was stuck for a good title.  (And because the happy problem had an awesome gig in Santa Barbara Saturday night, might I add, which was great, but my computer and I were briefly separated.)  But now I proudly present to you: The Steve Lillywhite!

it's like a classic album in your MOUTH!

it's like a classic album in your MOUTH!

“Salmon Greek Salad?”  “Smoked Salmon-Feta Salad?”  None of them seemed quite right.  BUT THEN, back in Hollywood last night, walking from my parked car to my building with guitar bags, gear bags, merch bags, and toiletry bags hanging off my shoulders, and a Line 6 amp hanging from my right arm, I passed a red rental Toyota and who should be getting into it but Mr. Steve Lillywhite himself!  (I considered saying hello, but quickly took-in my bag lady appearance, and thought better of it.  You do not want to meet Steve Lillywhite when you look like a lost hippie from Venice Beach.  Just trust me on this one.)  So I let the man go, but at the same moment, quietly decided to name my latest salad creation after him in homage.  And WHO THE HELL IS STEVE LILLYWHITE?  You might well ask.  Well, he’s only the producer of classic albums by Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, Psychedelic Furs, Siouxie and the Banshees, The Pogues, Simple Minds, Morrissey, Dave Matthews, Counting Crows, Crowded House, Matchbox 20, and there’s one more that I’m missing.  Who could it be?  Wait, it’ll come to me.  Oh yeah —

U2.

Oh yes, Mr. Steve Lillywhite, a medium-height, friendly-but-cynical, handsome blond man, seen just last night getting into a red Toyota, is the esteemed producer of such legendary albums as “No Line on the Horizon,” “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” “Boy,” “Under A Blood Red Sky,” “Joshua Tree” and more.  So how appropriate to honor such unmatched greatness with a new SALAD?  (Sorry, Mr. Lillywhite.)  Come with me…

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