Thursday, April 17, 2014

[Food Series] Dutch Oven Dover Sole

Last Christmas, my mom gave me the best present ever. A dutch oven! And since that fateful day, I've been dutifully trying to put it to good use. I'm a huge fan of braises and stews, especially seafood stews like ciopinno, so when my hubby came home with some fresh Denver Sole, I knew exactly what to do! I grabbed my dutch oven and started stewing! Enjoy!

Dutch Oven Dover Sole - Recipe

3 fillets of fresh Denver Sole
1 medium Spanish Onion
1 cup Grape Tomatoes
2 Lemons
2 tablespoons fresh Rosemary
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Heat the olive oil in the dutch oven over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onions to the pot and saute for 15 minutes on low heat with the lid on tight. Add the fish, grape tomatoes (halved), juice of 2 lemons, freshly chopped rosemary, salt and pepper and put the dutch oven lid on snugly. Stew for about 30 minutes. One pot! One incredibly easy, nutritious and delicious meal! We served it with rice and crispy kale! Enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hiking the Santa Monica Mountains: The Peter Strauss Ranch

One of my most favorite things to do is to just jump in the car and drive... and keep driving until something in my soul tells me to take a left, then my fingertips tell me to veer right and somehow, we end up somewhere we've never been. Nine times out of ten it's someplace magical and that is exactly how we happened upon the Peter Strauss Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains.

We were heading back down to LA after a weekend visit with my mom up north. We had no plans for the day and so I decided to take the Pacific Coast Highway up instead of jumping on the boring 101 freeway. Driving along, watching the waves crash along the shore, enjoying the brown pelicans zoom down the beach, an itch in my nose whispered, "take Kanan." 

Hiking Peter Strauss Ranch with a toddler
Kanan is one of those gorgeous canyon roads that begins at PCH and meanders through the Malibu hills and meadows. I kept my eyes open for a state park sign or a trail head marker, knowing this road had many to choose from and it wasn't long before we spotted exactly what we were looking for: a new discovery! Peter Strauss Ranch!

Tree climbing at Peter Strauss Ranch with a toddler
Where there's a tree, she will climb it!
This 64-acres of ancient live oaks and chaparral was once home to the Chumash Indians, later it was the perfect backdrop for pre-WW II dances under the light of the moon and rumor has it even some of Charles Manson's gang hung out there! Now, as our luck would have it, Mother Nature has reclaimed it as her own and it is the perfect spot for an easy hike, a lazy picnic or a game of hid and seek!

Playing hide and seek at Peter Strauss Ranch with a toddler
Hide & Seek!
Its parking lot is huge and its trails are on the short side and super easy, making it a perfect starting point for moms just getting back out there with their infants or toddlers clocking in their first tiny-footed trail miles. Nestled in the quiet Malibu hillside, this hidden gem of a park is rich in history and offers plenty to explore and discover!
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