Author: Natalie Bergman, Realtor

Sublime Pork Ragu

As someone raised Jewishly, cooking pork did not come with the upbringing. However, I love pork’s delicate qualities and versatility as a protein. This dish is a big family favorite, and no matter how many pounds I make, it disappears rapidly. I use the combination of the Instant Pot to quickly cook the pork with all the flavors under pressure which helps this denser piece of meat to melt its connective fibers into a tender ragu. For serving purposes, this can be served over a bed of perfectly cooked pasta, or over brown rice, or over polenta, or for the paleo types, over cauliflower rice. Ingredients: 3-4 lb pork butt (the butt is actually the shoulder) 8 cups of chicken stock (preferably homemade) 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (preferably san marzano) 3 bay leaves 1 teaspoon of kosher salt 1.5 cups of chopped onion 6-8 cloves of crushed/minced garlic 1-2 carrots, diced 1-2 stalks of celery, diced 1 teaspoon sugar 1 parmesan rind 1-2 teaspoons dry oregano 1 teaspoon dry thyme 1/4-1/2 cup of …

Lemon Ricotta & Almond Flourless Torte with Raspberry Coulis

This little torte is perfect for a lighter style of dessert and would be great to end a Passover Seder or any meal with a gluten-free (flourless) desssert option. Don’t skip making the raspberry coulis – the contrasting flavors of tart, sweet, creamy and fruity work really well together. Ingredients: Lemon, Ricotta Almond Torte with Raspberry Coulis 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened/room temp (I prefer European butters) 1 1/4 cups super fine sugar 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 tablespoons lemon rind (use organic, unsprayed lemons) 4 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed 4 eggs, separate yolks from whites 2 cups almond flour (make sure the flour is finely textured) 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (try to buy fresh ricotta and avoid low-fat/skim with its gums and fillers) 1 cup raspberries (frozen) for coulis 1/2 cup fresh raspberries to decorate top of cake powdered sugar, for garnish and for coulis   Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees (convection) or 350 standard. Line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper, grease/butter sides of pan and parchment …

Baby Boomers Retire In Style: Living The High Life in L.A.

  Baby boomers continue to break the mold when it comes to retiring and “downsizing”. This generation wants to remain active, flexible and mobile – and so selling the family house doesn’t mean moving into a smaller condo. Instead many boomers are opting to move into a high-end luxury townhome or condo with all the bells and whistles of a 5-star hotel resort. Here in Los Angeles, brands like the W and Ritz Carlton Residences are getting in on the act – offering stunning condos in highly desirable locations, like Hollywood, Downtown LA and Santa Monica.  With a 24-hour concierge, valet parking, resort-sized swimming pool, full-scale gym, screening room and other facilities for entertaining including rooftop gardens with views, lounges, fireplaces and wetbars, retirees can enjoy a high quality of life while no longer having to worry about lawn care or home maintenance issues. Having been a guest at the W Residences, I can say that the rooftop views of the Hollywood Hills and iconic Sign, and panoramic views to Santa Monica, are stunning. The rooftop …

Moroccan Chicken with Dried Apricots, Chickpeas, Butternut Squash and Green Olives

Okay, so admittedly I have never been to Morocco so I make no claims to its authenticity. But it is delicious and reheats beautifully. INGREDIENTS 1 cut-up chicken 1 can of chickpeas drained (or 12 ounces of dried chickpeas soaked overnight, then drained) 1 onion, cut up 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced 1 cup of cut-up butternut squash 2 medium carrots, chopped 1 cup of dried apricots 1/2 cup of pitted green olives 2-4 cups of chicken broth 2 tablespoons paprika 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon ground turmeric 1 teaspoon ground cinammon 1 teaspoon ground ginger salt & pepper 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil     STEPS Salt and pepper the chicken pieces to taste, while heating oil in the dutch oven. Sear the chicken with its skin on in the dutch oven until all sides are crispy. Remove the chicken from the dutch oven and pour off some of the chicken fat if you prefer a less oily batch. Then sautee the onions in the remaining chicken fat. Once onions are translucent and …

Israeli Couscous Sweet & Savory

I adore couscous in all its various sizes, but I really think the Israeli style which features a nice large round ball of semolina goodness, is definitely my fave. It’s got a great mouth feel and soaks up all sorts of flavors. Here is a super-easy, very flavorful approach to prepping couscous to go with my Moroccan Chicken or other middle eastern recipes. INGREDIENTS 2 cups couscous 2 tablespoons butter/ghee/coconut oil 1 minced shallot 1 cinnamon stick 1 bay leaf zest of 1 lemon fresh parsley 1/4 cup golden raisins 1/4 cup pine nuts salt   STEPS Start by melting the butter or ghee (clarified butter) (or a vegan fat like coconut oil if you prefer) in a medium-sized pot. Once the fat is melted, sautee a small diced shallot until softened, then toss in the couscous, and gently swirl the couscous around so that it gets a little golden and toasty. Once that’s done, add a cinammon stick, bay leaf, a pinch of salt, zest of one lemon, and 4 cups of chicken broth or water …