Vucacious Catering

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April 2018 Farmers Market Demo

You've heard of nose-to-tail cooking for animals, so why not root-to-tip for vegetables? April's demo was filled with amazing tips on how to use the entire vegetable, including greens that often get thrown away. Cooking your vegetables root to tips is an easy way to reduce food waste and also add flavor to your vegetable dishes.

Gremolata-Crusted Cauliflower Steak

Ingredients
1 large cauliflower, sliced into 3/4-inch slices
1 c Italian parsley, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest, chopped
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425F.
  2. Make the gremolata: Combine parsley, garlic, olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Alternatively, throw everything unprepped into a food processor and go to town.
  3. Slice Cauliflower into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and a little pepper.
  4. Roast in the oven, uncovered until golden and tender, about 30 minutes.
  5. When cauliflower is tender, arrange on a platter, and drizzle gremolata aggressively over top.

Beet Green Hash

Ingredients
1/2 pound red or Yukon potatoes, cut in small dice about 1/2 inch
1 bunch beets, roasted, peeled and cut in small dice about 1/2 inch
1/2 pound bunch of beet greens, stemmed and cleaned in 2 changes of water
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil blended with 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil
1/2 small red onion, chopped or minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 pound your favorite mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Freshly ground pepper
Salt

Directions
Note: You may blanche or steam the potatoes and beet greens (separately) prior to pan cooking to decrease pan cooking time, but it is unnecessary if you are patient.

  1. Heat the oil blend over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet. Add the potatoes, turn the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring from time to time, until the potatoes are lightly browned.
  2. Stir in the mushrooms, lightly season the mix with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring until mushrooms soften.
  3. Stir in the garlic, onions, greens, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the beet greens are wilted.
  4. Incorporate the vinegar, then add the roasted beets. Taste, and adjust with salt and pepper

Oven-Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto and Burrata

For the Carrot Top Pesto
Ingredients
4 c lightly packed washed carrot tops, roughly chopped, a small handful reserved
1/2 c basil leaves or your favorite leafy herbs (parsley or cilantro)
1 oz grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium garlic clove, halved lengthwise 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh ground pepper

Directions for pesto:
Combine the carrot tops and basil in a food processor, pulse, then add the cheese, garlic, and salt. Pulse again, and then with the machine continuously running, add the oil in a thin stream. Scrape down the sides a few times. Taste and adjust for seasoning.


For the Carrots
Ingredients
20 small carrots, scrubbed and tops trimmed but stems left on
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling Kosher Salt

Directions for carrots:
Toss the carrots in oil, salt, and pepper. Oven roast at 400 degrees until cooked through with beautiful brown and caramelized spots.

To finish: Toss the cooked carrots very gently with the prepared pesto, using more or less based on your taste. Transfer the coated carrots to a platter, and top with the burrata. Garnish the dish with additional pesto and salt on the burrata. Dress the reserved handful of carrot top sprigs with a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and a small pinch of salt, then top the carrots and burrata with the greens. Serve with toast for mopping up the cheese and bread, if you like.

March 2018 demo

Meatless in March was the theme last month at the Santa Monica Main Street Farmers Market demo. Chef Kim shared how to get more protein into a vegetarian diet!

With that in mind, she shared three recipes: Quinoa & Kidney Bean Burrito Bowls, Sundried Tomato Hummus Toast with Sauteed Spinach and Feta, and Roasted Curried Cauliflower Avocado Toast. Download all the recipes on one sheet.

Quinoa & Kidney Bean Burrito Bowls
1 c quinoa
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c onion minced
1 clove garlic minced
30 oz. cooked kidney beans or 2 cans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c fresh cilantro chopped
1/4 tsp chili powder mild
Pinch cayenne pepper spicy
1/4 c fresh lime juice
1 cup shredded lettuce
Salt and pepper

Optional Topping Ingredients
Grated cheddar or jack cheese
Sour cream or Greek yogurt
Pico de gallo or salsa
Diced, seeded tomatoes
Hot sauce or Sriracha
Sliced avocado or guacamole
Corn
Egg, boiled, poached, or fried

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Chef tip: use vegetable broth instead of water for more flavor.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, sauté onion in 1 Tbsp oil in a saucepan for a few minutes till it softens then add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes longer till aromatic.
  3. Add the kidney beans, 1/2 cup water, 2 tbsp of chopped fresh cilantro, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Let the beans simmer for 15 minutes till the liquid is mostly evaporated. Stir in2 Tbsp of fresh lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When the quinoa is fully cooked, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Mix in 2 Tbsp of chopped cilantro, 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice and kidney beans. Divide into 4 bowls and top with your favorite toppings.

Sundried Tomato Hummus Toast with Sauteed Spinach and Feta

Spread the hummus (see recipe below) on your favorite toast and topped with sautéed spinach and feta cheese. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Hummus Ingredients
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c tahini
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c sundried tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
2 c cooked or canned chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)

Instructions

  1. Add lemon juice, tahini and olive oil to the container of a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, about 40 seconds.
  2. Scrape down sides and add sundried tomatoes, garlic, cumin, salt, and 3/4 of the can of chickpeas. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. Scrape down sides and blend again for another minute until even smoother.
  4. Add remaining chickpeas and blend for about 20 seconds or until the hummus has reached the desired creaminess.


Roasted Curried Cauliflower Avocado Toast
1 ripe avocado, peeled, de-seeded, mashed, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and lime juice
1/2 c roasted curried cauliflower florets (see recipe below)
1 Tbsp mixed microgreens
2 Slices of your favorite bread, toasted
Balsamic reduction (see recipe below)
Soft boiled egg (optional)


Roasted Curried Cauliflower Ingredients
1⁄4 c olive oil
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp lemon juice
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp black pepper
4 c cauliflower florets, wash

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the olive oil, curry powder, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Place the washed and well drained cauliflower florets in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish; pour the oil mixture over the florets and toss gently. Bake 15 to 20 minutes; remove from oven and use everywhere! Divide and assemble the ingredients onto two pieces of toast.

Balsamic Reduction

Ingredients
1 c of balsamic vinegar

Instructions
Bring vinegar to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes until vinegar has reduced down and coats the back of a spoon. Cool and use everywhere! If it becomes too thick in the fridge, warm container in warm water to loosen.

Download all the recipes from the March demo!

October Santa Monica Farmers Market Demo

We had an amazing time at the Coast Open Streets Event on October 1! Chef Kim Vu demonstrated the recipes below and conducted in-depth panel discussions and answered several cooking questions!

Asian Cabbage Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients
For the dressing:
2 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Garlic Clove

For the Salad:
2 c Shredded Red Cabbage
2 c Shredded Napa Cabbage
1/2 c Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
1/2 c Green Beans, Blanched and Cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 c Carrots, Shredded or Julienned
1/2 c Cucumber (Coined or Julienned) or Daikon
(Shredded or Julienned)
Sesame Seeds, for garnish
Scallions, for garnish

Directions
To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until garlic clove is finely incorporated. If you don’t have a food processor, then mince the garlic clove and combine with all ingredients in a bowl and whisk.

Curry Vegetable Stir Fry

Ingredients
For the Sauce (for 5‐7 lbs of veggies):
1 can Coconut Milk
2 Tbsp Curry Powder
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Salt
2 tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp ground Ginger
1 Lemongrass Bunch/Stalk
1/4 c Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp Fine Chopped Green Onion
2 Tbsp Fine Chopped Cilantro

For the Stir Fry:
3 Tbsp Vegetable or Sesame Oil
1 whole Yellow Onion, Cut Into Large Chunks
2 whole colorful Bell Peppers, Seeded and Cut Into Large Chunks
2 whole Garlic Cloves, Minced
2 whole Medium Zucchini, Cut Into Large Wedges
1 whole Medium Eggplant, Cut into Large Wedges
Cooked Noodles Or Rice, For Serving
Sesame Seeds, For Garnish
Scallions, For Garnish

Directions
1. In a food processor, mix together all the curry sauce ingredients. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and peppers, and stir, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute more, stirring continuously. Add the eggplant and stir, cooking it for 2 minutes more. Add the zucchini and cook for a couple of minutes., While the veggies are still firm, pour in the sauce.
3. Stir the veggies in the sauce, cooking for 4 to 5 minutes more. Serve over noodles or rice, witha sprinkling of sesame seeds and scallions.
Tips: Prep all the veggies and make the sauce up to 24 hours ahead of time. Keep in separate containers in the fridge.

Skillet Asian Pear Crisp

1⁄3 c packed brown sugar
1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
Salt
2 lbs Asian pears, unpeeled but trimmed, cored and chopped
6 Tbsp (3⁄4 stick) butter, divided
1⁄2 cup of your favorite chopped nuts: walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, etc.
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1⁄2 c rolled oats
1⁄4 c shredded unsweetened coconut


Directions
1. Put 5 Tbsp butter in large skillet over low heat. When butter is melted, add nuts, lemon zest, oats, coconut, packed brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt; toss to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until topping is golden and crisp, 6 to 8 min. Remove from the pan; no need to wipe it out. The topping can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container up to a day or so in advance.
2. Put 1 Tbsp butter in the skillet over medium heat. When it’s melted, add fruit and cook, stirring
occasionally until pears are soft but not mushy, 10 min. Scatter the topping over the warm fruit and serve. This recipe can be made with any fruit you like, including berries, apples and mangoes. Adjust cooking time based on firmness of the fruit.

To download the recipes on a handy 8.5 x 11 sheet, click here.

 

Kohlrabi and Persimmon Salad Recipe

After the delicious fruits of summer, the fall brings about another round of flavorful produce. This time of year, I anticipate the arrival of persimmons. These deceptive-looking fruits look a lot like tomatoes but have a delicate, sweet taste that blends perfectly with kohlrabi, a crisp vegetable with a sweet, peppery taste.

This recipe requires only a little preparation and is topped with an easy black sesame dressing for a beautiful finish.

Kohlrabi and Persimmon Salad

Ingredients:

Shaved kohlrabi
Slic
ed persimmon
Charred shishlto peppers, sliced
Purslane, picked
Cherry tomatoes, halved
A dollop of plain yogurt
Dill, pickled
Cucumber, sliced
Black sesame dressing (recipe follows)

Directions:
Combine ingredients in large bowl. Toss together.

Black Sesame Dressing

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Asian (toasted) sesame oil
2 Tbsp black or white sesame seedstoasted lightly
Brown sugar or honey, to taste

Directions:
In medium bowl, combine ingredients. Whisk together until combined.

 

August Santa Monica Farmers Market Demo!

Chef Kim's demo on Sunday, August 13 at the Santa Monica Farmers Market will include a fabulous shakshuka recipe and a tomato vinaigrette! We know not everyone can make it to the farmers market, so the recipes are below. Bon apétit!

Fresh Tomato Shakshuka

Ingredients
1 onion, julienne
1 bell pepper (any color), seeded, julienne
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
cayenne to taste, or 1/8 tsp
1 bay leaf
28 oz. tomatoes, fresh or whole canned, rough chopped, with juices
6 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro or parsley, chopped, for garnish
1 jalapeño, seeded, minced or hot sauce (optional)
Feta or goat cheese, crumbled, for garnish (optional)
Sautéed spinach or chard, seasoned with salt and pepper (optional)
Tomato paste, 1/4 cup, added 1 tablespoon at a time (optional)
Grilled or toasted bread or pita, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Pre-heat a large skillet, add oil, onion, and bell pepper. Cook gently until soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until tender, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cumin, paprika, and cayenne. Cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes and juices, season with salt and pepper, and simmer 10 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
  3. Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes, season the eggs with salt and pepper. Transfer skillet to oven until the eggs are just set, 6 to 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro or parsley.
  4. Optional ingredients. Add jalapeños during step 2 for a spicier version. Add sautéed spinach or chard for a heartier meal. Add feta or goat cheese for a richer flavor.

NOTE: Tomatoes vary widely in flavor depending on whether you’re using fresh or canned tomatoes, and also depending on the season and source of the tomatoes. If you’re using, say, store-bought fresh tomatoes during winter, consider adding tomato paste, 1 Tbsp at a time to either thicken or punch up the flavor of your shakshuka. If it is the middle of winter, chef recommends using whole canned tomatoes, San Marzano, if available.

Yield: 6 entrée servings

Printer-friendly 8.5x11 version | Printer-friendly 5x3 recipe card version

Tomato Vinaigrette

Ingredients
8 oz. very ripe tomatoes
1/4 c of your favorite vinegar — red wine, balsamic, or sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 c good olive oil
Salt, to taste
Optional:  Your favorite herbs

Directions
Throw everything in a blender and go crazy.

Printer-friendly 8.5x11 version | Printer-friendly 5x3 recipe card version

Santa Monica Proud

People sometimes ask us why we choose to run our business in Santa Monica. Rent, taxes, and ingredients are all more expensive here. But we do it because we’re proud of Santa Monica and want to be a part of the positive, healthy forward-thinking that it embodies. As a Santa Monica resident and business owner, Chef Kim is focused on contributing to the community and benefiting from it in ways that will also benefit you, our clients. We wanted to take a minute to express our gratitude by sharing with you the parts of Santa Monica that we take advantage of every day.

 Taking in the earlybird crowd at Wednesday's Santa Monica Farmers Market.

Taking in the earlybird crowd at Wednesday's Santa Monica Farmers Market.

THE SANTA MONICA FARMERS MARKET.  From produce to protein, every menu that we design is built around the local organic ingredients from the Santa Monica Farmers Market and surrounding local businesses. We order directly from farms as well as hand-shop on Wednesday mornings. So, keep an eye out for Chef Kim and Chef Freddy at the market.

 I'm not sure cherimoyas existed when I was this age.

I'm not sure cherimoyas existed when I was this age.

The 2nd Sunday of each month, Chef Kim and team head to the Santa Monica Farmers Market on Main Street for a food demo, featuring ingredients from the vendors on-site.

SUSTAINABILITY. Earlier this year, we treated locals to vegetarian bites at Santa Monica’s State of the City, which focused on sustainability and the green initiative. We have since been working with Sustainable Works to ensure that our business operates as efficiently and environmentally-friendly as possible. Our commitment extends past where we source our food to our compostable/recyclable eating sundries, in-house cleaning supplies, and the type of lighting in our kitchen.

 Chef Kim Vu at Santa Monica's State of the City event.

Chef Kim Vu at Santa Monica's State of the City event.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT. Whether you’ve noticed or not, you’ve been seeing Chef Kim and her team out and about in Santa Monica now more than ever. Aside from the State of the City event, Chef Kim has offered her time, food, and staff to important initiatives, including the Planned Parenthood LA gala at Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar. With a focus on corporate events, we are regularly involved in benefits, fundraisers, and social awareness events.

 Locals taste small bites from Vucacious at the Planned Parenthood LA event at Santa Monica's Barker Hangar. 

Locals taste small bites from Vucacious at the Planned Parenthood LA event at Santa Monica's Barker Hangar. 

Join us in celebrating Santa Monica at the following events:

This Sunday, April 9th @ the Santa Monica Farmers Market on Main Street. It’s our monthly demo on the second Sunday of the month. This upcoming Sunday, we’re showcasing Autonomy Farms, who has been rebuilding their farm after incurring major flood damage. This is your chance to taste their meats before you buy them and then do your share to help give back. Our menu will feature dishes appropriate for Passover and Easter alike.

Wednesday, May 24th @ the Vucacious Private Dining Room. Chef Kim Vu opens her private dining room to the public for one night in celebration of the LA Times Food Bowl. In honor of National Strawberry Month, this event will harness Chef Kim's Vietnamese heritage along with her love of Santa Monica local fare to create a truly unique 5-course menu. All dishes will feature local strawberries with cocktails from our friends at Mixwell, a local premium soda company. Seatings at 6pm and 8:30pm. To purchase tickets, visit Resy

 Finley Farms. Just one of the many strawberry vendors at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. 

Finley Farms. Just one of the many strawberry vendors at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. 

Santa Monica Farmer's Market Demo: Seafood

Every second Sunday, Chef Kim Vu and team heads to the Santa Monica Farmers Market on Main Street for a cooking demo. She develops a themed menu, teaches you how to make them, feeds you samples, and sends you home with easy-to-follow recipes. Thanks to everyone who came out. And to those of you we haven't seen yet -- what are you waiting for? 

This week, the focus was seafood, featuring Santa Barbara Channel Seafood Company. The market was packed with people, the sun was shining, and music was playing as we setup and started handing out samples. By the last tasting, we were standing room only and ran out of recipe sheets!

 Everyone got to taste each of the dishes we prepared. 

Everyone got to taste each of the dishes we prepared. 

 Chef Kim hands out samples.

Chef Kim hands out samples.

For those of you who missed the demo or didn't get to take the recipes home with you, here they are, in printer-friendly version: 

The Coconut Curry Marinade can be used for any protein or vegetable. Yesterday, we used cauliflower, but for our catering events, we tend to use chicken. Feel free to try it with fish, tofu, or beef. 

We hope to see you at our next one in April. Until then, happy cooking! 

1828 Lincoln Blvd. Suite B, Santa Monica, CA 90404 • 310-853-8005

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