Pomegranate Cous Cous and Chet Baker Sings

Chet Baker was keeping me company in the kitchen as I threw together a quick dinner. It seemed to work out perfectly as I was pairing a unique voice in the music with a unique ingredient to add to my cous cous.. pomegranate seeds! If you have not tried them, please do. They are perfect in the winter time, and add little pops of sweetness to any savory or sweet dish.

What you need:

1 cup Israeli cous cous
chicken stock
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cups kale chopped
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
salt and pepper to taste

This one’s so simple. Ready in a matter of minutes. So press PLAY on the song below and go get started!

Cook cous cous according to directions with chicken stock. Meanwhile, in a pan heat oil over medium. Cook kale for 4-5 minutes or until it reaches desired tenderness. Add 1 tbsp of water at a time if pan becomes too dry. Once cous cous is done, stir it into kale, and add pomegranate seeds. Season to taste.

You can improvise:
Try adding a different fruit to your Cous Cous. (It could even be dried!)

Add different vegetables! (Mushrooms are lovely)

Experiment with different fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme work great!)

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Strawberry, Pineapple, Banana Smoothie: an Adi’s Kids Kitchen Experiment

Happy New Year, everyone! I’m down in ATL at the moment spending time with my little cousins and family. Naturally, we had to get into a little smoothie making fun for breakfast. Now, my two little cousins are so picky.. Will not eat fruit, vegetables, or anything with a “weird” texture. You can imagine the kind of food in this house then :o.. haha. So, while I’m down here, my mission is to sneak some more nutrients in, without them knowing it 😉

Here goes nothin’ in Adi’s Kids Kitchen:

1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries and pineapples
2 small bananas (or 1 medium)
juice of 1 grapefruit
2 tbsp plain greek yogurt plus a dollop for serving

BLEND until smooth.

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And here’s the result (please take note of the Duck Dynasty pjs)

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Look at that face! It was a success! Mission complete 😀

You can IMPROVISE on this recipe too:
Use any kind of frozen fruit you like.
Use orange juice instead of grapefruit.
Use a different flavor of greek yogurt (like vanilla).

Wishing you all good health, happiness, and love in 2014!

A year of Beyonce, traveling the world, saxophone, and food

All I can say is, Crystal Torres called it. In December of 2012 I met her in her hotel room before my very first rehearsal with Beyonce and the rest of the band. We were catching up and she looked at me and said, “Adison, this is going to be a really good year for you. I’m excited for you”. She called it. This year has been UNBELIEVABLE! For all I knew, I’d still be at Juilliard right now finishing my master’s degree.. But instead.. I’ve traveled the world many times over playing the saxophone with the biggest pop star in the world.. Beyonce and the Mrs Carter Show..

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I brought in the New Year with her last year at the Wynn in Las Vegas, then we played the Super Bowl..

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I’ve traveled to so many places, that I’ve never even dreamt of going to..

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I met with friends old and new around the world, from Australia to Warsaw, Poland..

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I’ve played for 50k people or more for 110 nights..

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I’ve become part of a whole entire new family..

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I started Adi’s Jazz Kitchen!

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And filmed my cooking show with some of my favorite people/ musicians..

Oh and also! I am able to start my discography with this one..

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Thank you to everyone who has supported and pushed me through one of the craziest years of my life. I am so grateful for your love.

I am so thankful and blessed. SO blessed.

I look forward to even more in 2014! I wish you and yours a happy and healthy New Year!

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The Classics: Chicken Vegetable Soup and Walking Pneumonia

I am lucky to travel the world on tour with Beyonce. However, every single time I come home I manage to get sick. It’s no surprise seeing as how many time zones and parts of the world we go through in such little time. This time it’s walking pneumonia, which is just a fabulous stroll in the park.. not. The ONLY cool thing about it, is it makes me sound like a walking zombie..which is OK in my book since I’ve been addicted to “Plants vs Zombies” (it’s a game) thanks to my Rie Chan, Rie Tsuji.

Anywho, I’m making a classic Chicken Vegetable Soup today loaded with garlic and fresh veggies and herbs to combat the zombie germs inside me..

  • 4 large carrots roughly chopped into chunks (same size)
  • 2 stalks celery roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic crushed and peeled
  • 1 medium yellow onion quartered
  • 3 lbs skinless chicken bone in (thighs and drumsticks)
  • handful fresh thyme
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper

This is so easy to make (Thank God, since lifting a wooden spoon feels like a workout at this point). Combine all ingredients in a large pot with the exception of salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Fill with cold water until it reaches just above the ingredients. Bring to a low simmer. Cook until chicken falls off the bone. Remove chicken, remove all the bones. Add chicken back in. Season with salt, pepper. Serve. This takes about an hour.

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Let’s not forget to add a little hot sauce if you feel like an extra kick. Mine is super hot and made with cachaca from Belo Horizonte, Brazil..
 

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Life on the road with the Mrs Carter Crew and Beyonce

Just like any other leg to this tour there have been ups and downs.. Mostly ups!  I love being on the road in the US just because of the simple fact that it’s not TOO far away from home, and I still get to use my phone and have internet :D. Plus, this leg is shorter than the others, which is nice since the holiday season is here and we all just want to be home with our families. Meanwhile, I have my lovely tour family and here’s some of the adventures we’ve had so far this leg…

We had a blast in San Jose at Christmas in the Park..

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getting in the Christmas spirit with my favorite movie..

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We go to rehearsals and rock out…

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Kind of like Larry (Les Twins) and Derek did today on the bus in Kentucky..

We catch lots of trains, planes, boats, and buses..

There’s ups! like seeing my suite mate from Interlochen (high school) in Houston, Emily for lunch!

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Then there’s more ups like getting picked up in cool dude cars on occasion..

photo-76The best part about this leg so far was the COOKING PARTY that we had at Jennita’s! Here’s a sneak peek (full episode to appear soon)!

I made apricot glazed turkey meatballs, and they were a hit! I love sweet and savory. yum yum yum!

Lots of the crew cooked too including Katty, and her “Not Paula Deen’s Banana Pudding”

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photo-78Crissy even gave LT a peanut butter facial! She’s very convincing. 😉

Then there’s the times where we are killing time backstage (everynight) so we watch Ancient Aliens.. Dun Dun Dun!!!

photo-85and Rie always falls asleep.. she’s dreaming of aliens..

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It’s a good job.

Seared Bay Scallop/Baby Clam Scampi: Improvising in the kitchen

Last night I put my improvisational skills that come along with being a jazz musician to the test in the kitchen. I decided to head over to New Jersey to surprise my parents for dinner. Without having stopped at the grocery store first, I took a look around the kitchen in search of something I could throw together, and it worked!

 I put a twist on your usual shrimp scampi, due to the lack of shrimp, I decided to use bay scallops and baby clams instead. I wanted some texture on the little “flavor bubbles” of bay scallops so I seared them first then tossed them in with the pasta later.
What you need:
  • 1 lb favorite pasta (I used a really fun fusilli lunghi bucati)
  • 3/4 lb bay scallops
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb baby clams
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic crushed, peeled, diced
  • 1 medium spanish onion diced
  • 2 tomatoes de-seeded. diced
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon juice
  • Handful fresh parsley chopped
Method: 
Bring generously salted water in a large stockpot to a boil for the pasta. Add pasta when ready. Meanwhile, place scallops on a paper towel to absorb any moisture. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a pan over medium heat, sear scallops for 30 seconds without touching them. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss quickly then set aside. You might have to do this in 2 batches. In order to get a good sear on something, it needs space in the pan to do so.
With a little bit of water in a large pot steam clams until they open up. Discard any clams that don’t open. Set aside.
In a large pan heat 3 tbsp olive oil over med high heat. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add onion cook until translucent. Add tomato. Cook for another minute. Season well with salt and pepper. Add white wine. Cook down for 2-3 minutes. Toss in clams and clam juice. Be careful not to pour in any sand from the clams. Once pasta is al dente (firm to the bite) toss in pan with clams and sauce. Toss in juice of 1 lemon and taste. Season accordingly. Plate. Garnish with parsley and fresh extra virgin olive oil.
Adi’s Tips:
  • Prepare everything ahead. Get all the chopping out of the way, so you won’t be stressed about pulling things together at the right time. In food and in music, timing is everything!

You can improvise:

  • Try using a different type of pasta.
  • Want to make a red sauce instead of white? Try a touch of red wine and adding a can of San Marzano tomato sauce or canned whole tomatoes then crush them with your wooden spoon.
  • Use different seafood.
This just goes to show, that you can make a dish into anything that you want, given the ingredients that you have. Be creative and confident, and it’ll work out in the most delicious way!
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Here’s to one of my favorite improvisers, Sonny Rollins!

Embrace the leftover rice and alternate takes!

Don’t waste your leftover rice! It’s just as valuable as those alternate takes the cats recorded in the 50’s and 60’s! Is it just me, or were there lots of alternate takes on those recordings? Like, all those Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Cannonball albums?

*Jazz Lingo: For those non musicians out there (an alternate take is when musicians decide to put two different versions of the same song on one recording)

The point is, is don’t let the rice or the alternate takes go to waste! Don’t skip over them. The alternate take can be just as good as the other version of the tune, if not better!!

Like this one for instance..

♫ Freddie Hubbard “You’re My Everything- Alt. Take” 

With my extra brown rice from the Thai place, I made a stir fry with all the leftover veggies I had in my refrigerator. I started with 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan over med heat. I added 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tbsp grated ginger, 1 red chili (thin slices- deseeded if you don’t like it too hot) But hey, I like it hot. Sidenote: Be careful what you do with your fingers after touching the chili. Don’t touch your nose.. err.. like I just did. It burrnnnns! Ok back to the cooking:

Cook for 2-3 minutes. Tear a handful of kale in the mix. Add a little water if too dry. Cook for a minute. Add rice. Make a well with the rice. Scramble 1 egg in the middle of the pan. Toss with rest of mix. Add soy sauce. Season to taste. Finish with fresh chopped spring onion. 

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Voila! Super fast meal in five minutes, and you didn’t waste a thing!

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Good morning, baked steel cut oats and Nancy Wilson!

As I’m adjusting to this chilly weather (which I’m loving!) I decide to warm up the kitchen this morning with some oatmeal and Nancy Wilson! This oatmeal isn’t just any oatmeal. It’s baked steel cut oats! It’s a swingin’ twist on regular stovetop oatmeal. I prefer steel cut oats just because they are a bit healthier for you than the instant rolled oats. This breakfast is super healthy, satisfying, and delicious! Just like Nancy Wilson is for the soul:

What you need:

Serves 4-6

  • 1 Cup steel cut oats (the 5 minute cooking kind- see picture below)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2 bananas sliced
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • cinnamon

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Stir together oats, seeds, and cranberries. Whisk together  milk, egg, apple sauce, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir oats into wet ingredients. Pour into a casserole dish (or in my case I just baked it in a skillet). Place sliced bananas on top, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 30 minutes, do a taste test, and check to see if it’s done. Once tender to the bite and golden,  remove from oven and serve with more honey, cinnamon, or whatever you like. You can serve it just like this or put it in a bowl and add more milk.

You can improvise: 

  • To make this healthy breakfast a little more sweet, top with homemade whipped cream.
  • Try adding different nuts or berries.
  • Use a different type of milk.

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I hope you all have a nice and easy morning!

See you, Australia! Hello, Fish Tacos and home!

Thank you so much Australia and New Zealand! It was yet another incredible leg of the Mrs Carter Show with Beyonce. I can’t wait to visit again, but dang what a long flight! I just got back last night after traveling for 30 hours and to my surprise I was actually able to sleep through the night and so far, (thank goodness) I’m not really that jet lagged! (*knocks on wood*)

I hit the ground running back in New York, running errands and taking care of business today. I went super market hopping today (one of my favorite past times), lugging around my brand new mortar and pestle from Sur La Table, picking up a whole bunch of ingredients for some upcoming recipes.. I could not wait to get back into the kitchen after being away from mine for a month! The first thing that popped into my head was fish tacos with a homemade sweet chili sauce. The tacos are light and fun and the chili sauce is sweet, zingy, and packs a serious punch.. Kind of like the perfect track to pair up with this recipe.. Christian McBride’s “I’m Coming Home” from his “Family Affair” album. It just seems oh so fitting.

Check it out!

You’re going to need a mortar and pestle for this. If you don’t have one, it’s seriously a great investment for the kitchen. Great for grinding up spices, making pesto, guacamole, and much more. (Mine was $25 from Sur La Table)

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Recipe makes 4 tacos

Sweet Chili Sauce:

  • 2 red chilis deseeded and chopped (see Adi’s Tips below)
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed and peeled
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped

Method

Combine chilis, garlic, sugar, and salt in mortar and grind with pestle until smoothish. Stir in olive oil, vinegar, lime, onions, and cilantro. Taste. Season accordingly.

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For the Fish:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb firm white fish (I used 2 basa fillets)
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Black pepper
  • Shredded radicchio
  • 1 small red onion sliced finely
  • Squeeze of lime
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • any other garnishments you like

Warm tortillas in a 300 degree F oven while fish cooks. In a pan large enough to fit the fillets of fish, heat olive oil over medium high. Season fish on both sides. Place in pan lying the fish down away from you so the oil doesn’t splash you. The fish should sizzle, if it doesn’t you need to wait longer for the olive oil to heat up. Cook fish 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip for an additional 1-2 minutes. Once cooked through, cut fillets into 4 servings and construct tacos with sweet chili sauce, radicchio, onion, and lime.

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Can you tell how excited I am to be home and cooking again!? haha

*Adi’s Tips: 

  • In order to de-seed a chili pepper you can pretend you’re the most killin’ drummer on the face of the planet and they are your drum sticks and jam out on your kitchen counter. (I’m serious) By tapping the pepper against a surface you release all the seeds, so once you cut the top off they will all pour out.
  • If your fingers start to burn because of touching the inside of the pepper rinse them with lemon juice. It’ll relieve the burn.

You can improvise:

  • Experiment with different garnishes like cabbage instead of radicchio, or by adding sour cream or guacamole, etc.
  • Use a different type of fish
  • Bread the fish with japanese bread crumbs by first dredging it in beaten eggs, flour, and then panko bread crumbs, then sear.

Stay tuned for more recipes! I’ll be cooking and playing up a storm the next 2 and a half weeks!