Saturday, May 17, 2014


We are proud, and ecstatic to announce the birth of our new (and vastly improved) grenadine!
She took several goes, she did.  We had a few close ones, but now she's a perfect specimen in every way!
Whereas most grenadines are totally artificial, MB HOUSE GRENADINE is made with 100% all natural foods.
Yes, we've done it!
The first EVER clean grenadine.
But to call it a grenadine puts it in too small a box; a tiny box with only shirley temples and roy rogers in it.
Our unique blend of pomegranate & hibiscus, infused with agave and citrus is more like a m/cocktail enhancer.  It makes whatever you're drinking BETTER.  That's what it does. We can't help it.  It must make your drink better.


The herbacious quality from the hibiscus pairs great with cucumber, lemon, lime, basil and mint.  And the richness from the pomegranite gives it some real backbone.  It can stand up to the up-frontness of some gins. Orange bitters are a nice compliment and add some nice depth.

Remember when Sex and the City made the Cosmopolitan famous?
We're bringin it back! Only instead of the sugary, corn syrupy, lame version,  it's the upscale farm fresh mixology version.  No need for cranberry juice, just a little lemon/lime + HOUSE GRENADINE. {note: a few drops of lemon bitters never hurt anybody. It really enriches the cocktail. totally optional}

The Rubyfruit Rita is our version a Tequila Sunrise.  Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice instead of oj. AMAZING.

Drinking water? Add a little MB lovin to that glass! 
Meet SodaStream's new best friend!
Pairs perfectly with iced tea.
It's the best lemonade you ever had!  A pomegranate & hibiscus lemonade!!
Freeze any of these!!! And make pomegranite & hibiscus ice cubes, pops, and glacial ice!!

Or, try our fave thing: freeze a mocktail, make it a glacial cube & pour your favorite spirit over it. Voila!

Will post more pics once we get back to the MB Test Kitchen.
We're growing so much these days, it's been impossible to to get back to home base.  But we are cocktailers to our core, and we will most certainly get back to cocktailing just as soon as we're done revolutionizing.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


What to do with our MB DILLS & PICKLED  CELERY

Sure, you can put pickles on just about anything, and make it better: sandwiches, salads, Middlebar Marys, whisky... 

Well, we are delighted to announce that our MB DILLS & PICKLED CELERY make a hell of a martini.  

If you like a dirty martini...  Or, if you don't like a dirty martini, because you dislike olives, then you might just downright LOVE the DIRTY HERB MARTINI!

1oz MB DILL juice
3oz your favorite VODKA (or GIN)
Shake w vigor (10-15 sec)
Strain into glass
Garnish with angular slices of MB PICKLED CELERY

3oz  your favorite GIN (or VODKA)
Shake w vigor (10-15 sec)
Strain into glass
Garnish with BASIL LEAF and angular slices of MB PICKLED CELERY

SO EASY!!!!!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014



PITCHER: 1 cup fresh lemon juice
                   1 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
                   1 cup fresh cutie/mandarin/tangerine/orange
                   2 cups AZTEC GOLD
                   1 1/2 cup Tequila/Mezcal

Stir in all the ingredients into a large pitcher. Pour over ice.
(or shake and strain it, if that's yo thang)
Garnish with a thin slice of fresh jalepeno, and lime.
BARKEEP'S TIP: sprinkle a little (ancho) chili powder over the lime and jalepeno, like the guys do it at the fruit carts on the corner.

We LOVE a good margarita!!
Who doesn't?!
But honestly, I'm pretty sure I know by now what a good margarita tastes like.  Let's just say, I've done my research ;)
What's a little sexier to us, is a delicious and interesting margarita.
We've done some good ones: strawberry basil, pomegranite rose, mango key lime & mint.... And we've LOVED some of the ones we've tried around town.  (That list is soon to come)
But the one that really struck us, the one that was so unique, and so friggin good that we decided to botttle it, is our 5 CHILI MARGARITA.  Technically, what we decided to bottle was our 3 CHILI LIME SYRUP aka AZTEC GOLD!!
There is nothing like this out there. And we came upon it so by accident! A couple years ago, we were messing around with chilies.  We figured, we live in this beautiful metropolis bustling with Mexican Chilies, why not get an education.  So we'd go downtown to Valeria's @ GRAND CENTRAL MARKET and learn about chilies.  Luckily Corrie is a savant chef, and off we went into Mexican heaven.  One of our favorite and EASY meals to make is MEXICAN FIESTA, which "coincidentally" pairs well with margarita "research." The research was conclusive: these chilies truly are Aztec gold!! See what you think of our 5 CHILI MARGARITA and MEXICAN FIESTA, and let us know!

If you're just making a single margarita (sad face),  just substitute OZ for CUPS:
1 oz lemon
1 1/4 oz lime
1 oz cutie
1 1/2- 2 oz AZTEC GOLD
1 1/2 oz Tequila/Mezcal

BARKEEP'S TIP: make a batch of the scratch base (lemon, lime, cutie)
That way, you can make each drink separately.

SPICY MARG:  3 oz citrus blend
                            1 1/2 oz AZTEC GOLD
                            1 1/2 oz Tequila/Mezcal

REG. MARG:  3oz citrus blend
                          1 1/2 oz Tequila/Mezcal
                          1/2 oz Triple Sec

Note: We don't put Triple Sec in our 5 CHILI MARGARITA. We've found it takes away from the FARM FRESH FEEL we require.  But others might like it that way. Let us know what you find!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Whenever we do a mocktail at an event, we get great feedback.  There seem to be 3 main reasons people like a mocktail:

~Takes boring old juice or soda and makes it something special

~Makes ya more likely to drink (seltzer) water throughout the day

~ Has fewer carbs/calories than a cocktail (which only sometimes matters)

But what I think is so nice about a mocktail is that, unlike a cocktail, which demands precision, mocktails are very forgiving.  Today at the Warner Brothers Farmers Market, for example, we made a BASIL & BLACK PEPPER POMEGRANATE SODA.  Soooooo light and refreshing, and soooooo simple.

In honor of our dear Shirley.
Muddle basil, black pepper, and lemon slices with our HOUSE GRENADINE.  Add soda water.

Seriously, it's that simple.
That's what's so great about a mocktail!! You can add more or less syrup, depending how sweet you want it.  If you accidentally overdo it on the sweet, just add more soda water.  Too mild? Just add more of whatever it needs (lemon, basil, etc.)

*Barkeep's tip: Be sure to include basil in each glass, either muddled or as a fresh garnish-- the nose on this mocktail makes the whole thing. So herbacious and fresh-- a unique soda experience.
Also, you may want to strain the mocktail before serving, depending how well you cracked the peppercorns.  Or, if you like the bits, like we do, just pour and enjoy!

Another super simple, and super delicious mocktail.
Add HOUSE GRENADINE to Sprite/7-up. (approx 1:3)
*Barkeep's tip: fill the glass with ice before starting, pile it in there!!  The perfectly sweet mocktail really needs the chill and the bruising.  Also, a straw really makes the magic happen

cheers y'all!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Technique 101: en Papillote

The usual style of cooking here at MiddleBar places ingredients forward, rather than preparation.  I usually don't get too technical as far as recipes go, but occasionally it's nice to incorporate something that requires a bit more technique. One of the tastiest and easiest technically driven recipes is fish en Papillote (in parchment).
En Papillote is a french technique where foods are poached in their own juices or stock inside a folded parchment paper pouch.  When baked, it steams the food, leaving a rich, luscious texture, never dry.  It is a brilliant way to cook fish and vegetables, and recipes can be found throughout the world that incorporate this technique.

In honor of Mrs. Julia Child, who had a birthday not too long ago.  This recipe is dedicated to her, as she would've been a huge fan of this quintessentially french dish.
For each serving:
8 ounces boneless fish fillet, such as snapper, salmon or cod
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 large sprig fresh thyme
2 Ceregnola or other large green olives with pits
Extra-large egg

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the fish fillet on a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle it with the salt and pepper. Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil over the top of the fillet. Lay the thyme on top and place the olives next to the fillet.

Beat the egg together with 1 tablespoon of water for an egg wash. Brush the egg wash around the edge of the parchment paper and fold it in half. Carefully fold the edge of the parchment paper under and around the fish to make a package. Place the package on a sheet pan and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Serve hot in the parchment paper.

Pairs nicely with a roasted potato and a little sauteed spinach.  Or, try a rice pilaf with roasted broccolini. Pretty much good no matter what.

Bon appetit, y'all!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Heavenly Tomatoes

June 2013

Something very interesting happened here at MiddleBar that everyone keeps telling me to write about.

A few months ago, I was talking to my friend Elizabeth, a Master Gardner, about wishing I had the space for a tomato garden. Someone suggested the rooftop, but then we'd have to involve the landlord blah, blah, blah, blah.  Our friend Diana told us to simply get some pots and randomly toss some seeds in there.  I never got the chance...

1 week later!!!  I was headed out back to take out the trash, when I saw a fledgling tomato vine growing out of a 2x4 inch crack in the ground.  Not kidding. A crack.  Seriously, no grass, dirt, anything.  Just a vine, growing out of a crack in the pavement.  I was flabbergasted. 

July 2013
So, I cleaned up the area, and made a home for these miracle tomatoes.  I propped the sad little half broken vine up on the legs of MiddleBar by attaching a few hook screws to the legs.  Then, I wrangled in some bricks that happened to be laying around in the yard.  Then it gets even weirder.  When I finished,  I whispered to my plant, "someone loves you now." (Seriously, I said that. Who am I??)  And now, I talk to them EVERY DAY. 

August 2013

It was June 10th when the vine sprung up from a crack in the pavement, and flopped itself down by the trash can out back.  Today, this crazy plant is healthy and bountiful.  How? I'm not sure.  There's seriously no soil out there.  But she's beautiful and totally magical.

-be specific
-believe in magic

Monday, August 12, 2013

Chilled Corn Chowder With Basil Chili Oil

The summer corn is so delicious this year!   Underwood Family Farm and I have become very close this summer. I figured out what to do with all that delicious corn I can't resist!  A great chilled corn chowder for all that farmstand corn. We keep the corn simple and delicious, only adding a touch of salt, and a broth made from water and the husks.  No dairy is necessary in the creation of this creamy goodness, which makes me and my sinuses very, very happy.  (I recently found out I have allergic reactions to soy and dairy) But on the plus side, MiddleBar is rockin' some delicious allergen-friendly recipes these days :)

6 ears of corn
2 quarts of water
1 small onion tiny dice
1 cup basil leaves
1 generous pinch chili flake
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic peeled

1. Cut the corn kernels from the husks and put aside. Milk the husks by pressing the back of a knife along the husk over a pot of 2 quarts of boiling water and add to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. In a tablespoon of bacon fat, melt onions until translucent 7-10min. Add corn kernels and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and add to a bowl reserving 1 cup of kernel onion mixture.

3. Strain corn husk water through a fine sieve into the bowl with the corn onion mixture and using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Add the reserved cup of kernel onion mixture cover and chill for 2+ hours.

4. For the Basil Chili Oil, as with any herb oil, delicate herbs must be blanched so that your basil oil doesn't turn from green to gray. Blanche for 30 seconds, plunge & lay flat to dry throughly. In a mini prep or blender, add oil, basil and chili flake and puree. Place in bowl, add whole clove of garlic and cover and sit for 1+ hr.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Breaking Bread Together

My first dough on it's second rise.
Our French roots run deep in New Orleans.  Anyone will tell you, our bread is the. best. in the country. There is a lot of talk about bread here at MiddleBar since there are only 3 bakeries in Los Angeles where they bake anything even close to Leidenheimer's. (For my full diatribe on New Orleans french bread click here.)

Bread making is, for sure, one of the great artistic contributions from the French.  But getting started is easier than you think.  One of my favorite take-homes from CAN IT ACADEMY is bread-making, and this delicious boule.

I'm proud to say that my canning education is being put to good use as I'm busy trying to replicate the delicious, light, and terrifically airy french bread of my youth.  In the meantime, here is a simple bread recipe to get you started on your own bread baking adventure.

NY Times Recipe adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising 
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed. 

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Stepping Up: Black Beans

I'm all about up-cycling my pantry items. Something as simple as a can of black beans can transform with the addition of some key ingredients. I always keep some garlic and ginger in the fridge. Ya know, the kind in the tiny jar. It's a great shortcut when you're just looking to make a quick meal rather than doing a bunch of dishes.

These beans make a great side dish.  When paired with a few marinated grilled vegetables makes a simple, cheap and delicious vegan dinner.

Ginger & Garlic Black Beans
1 can black beans
1/4 cup tiny diced red onion
1/2 tea crushed garlic
1/2 tea crushed ginger
1/2 tea salt

Simmer beans covered on medium low heat for 20-25 minutes.  
That's it. Simple, Easy, Cheap.
Enjoy y'all!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pisco Sour Happy Hour

Summer is here kids and if you're looking for an upscale alternative to the classic Margarita or the played out Mojito, the Pisco Sour is the drink for you. 

Pisco is a colorless grape brandy produced in either Chile or Peru, and I wouldn't recommend joining any debate as to which region's pisco is superior.  No matter what type you prefer, the end result will always be delicious. Pisco goes down nice and easy, especially on a hot day.  But it packs a significant punch, so keep that in mind.

Pisco Sour
1 1/2oz Pisco
3/4oz fresh lime juice
1oz simple syrup
Several drops Angostura Bitters
1 small egg white
Dry shake egg white pisco and lime, add ice and shake vigorously again. Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass and garnish with several drops of Angostura Bitters on top of the foam created by the egg.

*If you're squirrely about using raw eggs in cocktails, see our blog post: The incredible drinkable egg.

Cheers Y'all

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ancho Chile, Beet Greens & Manchego Quiche

"El Quiche",  with optional fried potato topper

I promised myself I would start working with more chiles this year, since these lovely little dried chile bags are at every market in LA.  Thought I'd start with the Ancho Chile, a dried poblano which has a mild flavor, reminiscent of raisin or dried fig. I paired this fig flavor with Manchego, a buttery sheep's milk cheese and some simple sauteed greens. It's quite a twist on the ordinary spinach quiche. Yummm...

1 cup finely chopped beet greens
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tbs chopped Ancho chile
3/4 cup grated Manchego
1/3 cup milk or cream (almond works great for this)
3 eggs
1 package puff pastry

Soak 1 dried Ancho chile in a bowl of hot water for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425, and roll puff pastry to about an 11"-ish square and place in a 9" pie pan (trim the edges).  In a pan, over medium/high heat, saute the chopped onions and Anchos in olive oil, until the onions are translucent.  Then, add the beet greens, allow to wilt for about 5-7 minutes. Whisk 3 eggs and brush the edges of puff pastry with egg wash then add the milk and cream and whisk again. Fold in all ingredients and pour into puff pastry. Bake until crust is gold brown and the eggs are cooked, about 25 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes, and enjoy y'all!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hot Fun In the Summertime.

Thanks to Erica, Steve, and Patti for the Shun knives. They're amazing!!
There has been a lot going on this Spring, here at MiddleBar! We launched MiddleBar Marys!!! I've been attending an amazing preservation class, and am becoming a Master Canner!!! Plus, we up and got married!!

We're keeping the fun going all summer long! Now that wedding season has passed,  I'll finally have some time to get back in the kitchen. Thanks to our peeps, we have plenty of new kitchen tools & techniques to try out.  So, there will be plenty of new recipes as well. You can also follow us on Instagram for previews of some upcoming delights. Look out this summer for a few of our new favorites!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Meet MiddleBar Mary!

MiddleBar is out of control these days!  We just launched our new product line and we've been getting rave reviews and wonderful feedback!!  Big thank yous to everyone who has been a taste tester, a supporter, and rad purchaser of our new items.  Our MiddleBar Marys were featured throughout the Los Angeles area this Superbowl Sunday, and the feedback was... impressive.  Here's what our fans are saying:

"WTF!!!! The best bloodys I have ever had! I need that in my life!"
                                      Stacey King

"OMG! That's like offering crack to  people...The best frakkin Bloody EVER!!!"
                                   Raquel Hollier

"SO GOOD!  So full of flavor, with a light refreshing body.  Impossible to resist a second glass."
                                 Sarah Tapscott

"In all seriousness--that was without question the best Bloody Mary Bar I have ever witnessed!"
                            Teri Pensky Hlubik

 In addition to our Mary Mix, we also offer the Bloody Mary Kit featuring our superb pickle collection.  Including the soon to be famous Lagniappe Beans, Sweet Beans, Pickled Onions & Garlic with a cayenne kick.  They're guaranteed to make your eyes water, but ya just won't stop coming back for more.

"There's an onion in there that is just outstanding."
                                  Steve Bell

Pickled Celery is a new and unique addition to the MiddleBar line.  We figure, ya gotta have celery in that Bloody Mary, so why not pickle it?   As they say in Portlandia, "we can pickle that!"  And of course, you can't forget the classic MiddleBar Dills.  Just Dill-licious.
If you want to get some for your own, all you have to do is email!
MiddleBar Marys are available in 3 different sizes: Liter, 1/2 Gallon Growler, & 1 Gallon Growler.
No matter how big or small your next brunch, we're ready to furnish you with all the fixins for a brilliant Bloody Mary Bar.

Stay tuned for more products which will be ready in time for next season's football parties:  Pickled Beets, Couture Cocktail Onions, Okra & more!

                                 "Stop.  These bloody marys are too good. 
                                  They're hurting my feelings."

Wanna order, drop me a line.

Thanks Y'all!!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rocket Crustinis

December was chock full of parties and MiddleBar hit the road doing some boutique catering! This year you'll be seeing a lot more appetizers since I've got so many of them flying out of the MB kitchen. 

Today's recipe for Rocket Crustini is super simple but has a ton of flavor complexity. This recipe calls for Rocket (most commonly known as Arugula). Rocket has a spicy, peppery flavor and is delicious when drizzled with olive oil and a hint of lemon. Throughout history, rocket has been considered an aphrodisiac - and you thought you liked it for the taste alone! ;) 

Rocket Crustini
1 Bushel of Rocket greens 
4oz of Goat Cheese (use plain, rather than an herb variety)
1 pack Prosciutto 
Lemon Zest
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to 350. Cut a rustic baguette on the bias, drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil, arrange baguette slices in a single layer and lightly drizzle the top of the baguette with oil and a pinch of salt & pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Over medium high heat, fry prosciutto slices as you would with bacon. Place them on a paper towel and crush into prosciutto bits.

Top the baguettes with rocket, goat cheese, and prosciutto bits as seen above. Sprinkle salt, a tiny bit of pepper, some lemon zest, a drizzle of olive oil, and a hit or two of lemon juice. 

Rock the Rocket Y'all!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cartography Punch

Having a holiday party is a huge undertaking and the last thing you need to focus on while being the host or hostess with the mostest is bar tending all night. This holiday season instead of putting out a bottle of vodka or whiskey and some soda try this recipe. This simple punch will impress all of  your yuletide guests.

The Punch
4 cups apple juice or cider
3/4 Applejack Liqueur 
1/4 cup Maker's Mark whiskey 
1 cup MiddleBar's ginger cinnamon simple syrup
3 large apples (rubbed with lemon to avoid browning)
1/4 tsp nutmeg 
2 cinnamon sticks for garnish

When it's time for the party:
Pour all the ingredients into a large punch bowl or pitcher.
Add ice, cut up your apples in 1/2 slices along it's width to see a star pattern. Toss in the remaining cinnamon sticks and sprinkle with nutmeg. 

Last year my good friend Ali Keller got her master's degree in cartography and she served this punch at her graduation party, hence this amazing beverage's name. It was a huge hit! 
Happy Holidays Ya'll! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Roasted Tomato Soup

If you are a MiddleBar follower then you know I love the tomato. Since tomatoes are out of season most of the year and I haven't quite mastered canning, what is a girl to do? The answer is simple: roast em!!!!

If you haven't tried the MiddleBar Roasted Tomatoes (click here) then you better get your butt movin'. For the rest of you, here's another great take on this recipe the pros!  Enjoy Ya'll!

Roasted Tomato & Basil Soup
5lb Roma tomatoes
2 1/2 tbl salt
1 tbl pepper
3 1/4 tbl sugar
2 thbl crushed garlic
1/4 cup balsamic
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
3 sprigs basil
1 tbl chiffon basil

Preheat oven to 400. Slice tomatoes lengthwise and place on a oiled roasting pan. Brush with crushed garlic then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Sprinkle with salt, pepper & sugar and ake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven, then hand crush the tomatoes into a food processor add sprigs of basil and pulse 8-10 times until tomatoes are to a chunky soup consistency. Transfer to stock pot and add 1 cup chicken stock. On medium low heat, simmer the soup 15 minutes, top with 1 tbl of basil and serve!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Roasted Beet Salad

This roasted beet salad is the perfect accompaniment to any meal or as a light lunch. I love beets in the winter and roasting them really brings out their sweetness. When serving this dish to guests I use both yellow and red beets for variety and color but mid-winter if you can only get your hands on the red, no worries!

I top the salad with some goat cheese, basil, a citrus vinaigrette and toasted pecans. The softness of the cheese, the crunch of the nuts and the sweet beets are a perfect match!

Roasted Beet Salad
10 small beets
1 tbl orange zest 
1' round of goat cheese
1/4 cup toasted pecans
1 tbl chiffonade basil

MiddleBar's citrus vinaigrette
Salt & Pepper

Preheat your oven to 400. Peel the fresh beets with vegetable peeler, rinse, quarter and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and orange zest and bake 35-40 minutes flipping twice until fork tender. Cool to room temperature and toss with vinaigrette then top with goat cheese, chiffonade basil and lightly toasted pecans.

Yum, Yum Ya'll!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Crab & Artichoke Risotto

You guys, we're in my favorite CA holiday season. Football is on TV, Middlebar is packed every Sunday, Christmas tunes on wwoz, and most importantly, it's California Recreational Dungeness Crab Season.

Maybe next year I'll make it up to NorCal to actually trap some myself, like a good Louisiana girl should. But for now, I think I'll let the guys at Santa Monica Seafood catch 'em for me and I'll concentrate on the recipes.

Crab & Artichoke Risotto
2 tbsp butter
1 cup Arborio Rice
14oz of chicken broth
2-4 cups water
1 shallot minced
2 dill sprigs minced
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tbl fresh lump Dungeness crab
2 tbl fried capers

Make your Risotto as per the usual (MiddleBar Directions): Melt butter with the 1 minced shallot until the butter is brown. Add rice and 1 cup of white wine. Bring to a slight boil stirring often. Add salt. Continue to add water and chicken broth slowly while stirring  for the next 30-45 minutes (do not be afraid to add more or less liquid as necessary to keep your risotto from drowning or drying out). Half way through cooking add the juice and zest of 1/2 lemon, 2 dill sprigs. The more slowly you add water and more often you stir will effect the overall creaminess of the dish.  Once the rice is al dente and most of the water is absorbed, remove from heat and quickly whip in cheese vigorously (some recipe's will call for butter at this stage as well but I find that there is enough butter to make it creamy enough but if you want it more decadent, please do not let me stand if your way).

In between stirring your risotto, peel a boiled Dungeness crab. In a small frying pan add a little olive oil and shallow fry 2 tbs of drained capers. When risotto is done, top with crab, lemon juice, a bit of fresh dill and a sprinkle of fried capers. Serve this risotto as a side dish (serves 4) or as a meal (serves 2).

I think you'll like it!

Enjoy Ya'll

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pickle of the Month: Cryin' Cayenne Beans

My cousin Jeanna had a very interesting point a few months back: In all the insane pickle combinations I put in the MiddleBar Bloody Mary, I was missing a spicy bean.
She was totally right.

To be honest, the only reason I don't have a spicy bean in my Bloody Mary is that spicy beans here in CA are freaking expensive! And with the way I consume those beans (I can honestly eat them a jar at a time) I'm going to go broke before the Super Bowl.

So with all my pickling, I've concocted  the perfect  spicy bean. There is a disclaimer on this one though. They are HOT, tear jerking HOT, make ya feel god HOT. (and they only get hotter day by day as they marinate in the fridge...) But they are an extremely delicious and wonderful accompaniment to your Bloody Mary, and for the right price!

Thanks Jeanna!

Cryin' Cayenne Beans are now available for purchase!!!!!

Please contact me at for more information

Enjoy Ya'll!

Monday, August 6, 2012

MiddleBar's Award Winning Roast Beef Poboy

Shut your mouth, this is THE BEST Roast Beef Po-boy you will ever eat in your life!!!

I've been experimenting with slow cooked roast beef for what seems like decades (well actually just a decade) since I moved to California. I slowly found a place with the best bread (now it's not Leidenheimer's) which makes all the difference in the world, and then even more slowly finding a recipe that fulfills my extremely high standards for roast beef. I've finally settled it and I'm willing to share the greatness with my faithful readers. Well I'm not that willing because this is definitely an award winning type of recipe, but I'll give it to ya anyway ;)

When the blog first made it's debut last year I wrote one of my first blogs about an amazing shrimp & oyster po-boy and if you would like to read the history of the po-boy and more about the bread, click here. This year I'm sticking strictly to the beef. 

This recipe would actually fall under a style of po-boy made famous by another popular po-boy place in NOLA, Mother's Restaurant. They call it a "Debris" which in the scraps of roast beef that land in the gravy while cutting the roast beef for a regular sandwich. My version is a cross between a debris and a pulled beef sandwich. The flavor of the beef slow roasted in a crock pot for 7 hours is almost sweet and the meat just falls apart when you cut it creating so much debris you just got to call the whole thing a debris po-boy! 

Ok, Ok, I'm going to stop talking about it and just give you the recipe already because it's going to be hard enough to wait the 7 hours until you can actually eat it. 

Debris Roast Beef
1 3lb chuck roast
1 head of garlic (10 cloves)
Salt, pepper, chili powder rub (1/2 tbl of each)
1 tbs butter
3 onions sliced
1/2 cups red wine
1 14oz bottle of BBQ sauce
1tbl liquid smoke (this is estimated btw) 
32oz beef stock
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs worschestchere
3 dash Tabasco

Begin by stuffing 10 whole cloves of garlic in all different areas of the beef then generously rub the spices into the meat. On very high heat, sear all sides 2-3 mins per side. Remove from pan and place into your slow cooker. Add 1 tbs butter to meat drippings and saute 3 onions. Deglaze the pan with the 1/2 cup of red wine and add contents of the pan into the crock pot. Heat on high for 7 hours, pull the meat apart, make your sandwich, and make sure you include plenty of au jous for dipping.

Trust me. It's incredible. Really.
Enjoy Ya'll!