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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Adi’s Jazz Kitchen Christmas with Kris Bowers Pt 1, 2, 3!

We’re in the kitchen at Christmastime with pianist, composer, food lover, overall bmf, Kris Bowers! On this episode we make:

  • Herb Roasted Chicken
  • Israeli Cous Cous with lemon and rosemary
  • Spiced hot chocolate

Let’s not forget a special guest appearance from AdiClaus and a musical performance from Kris and I to you!

You can check out more Kris Bowers at:

http://www.krisbowersmusic.com

instagram: @bowersmusik

https://www.facebook.com/krisbowersmusic

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!!!

 

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..

photo-86Then there’s the Mrs Carter Show..

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It’s a good job.

Homemade parmesan peppercorn shrimp salad and Nat King Cole!

The other night was one of those nights where I just had no idea what I was in the mood to make. I settled on a dinner salad which actually turned out to be pretty killin’. This recipe was inspired by a steak and peppercorn salad recipe, but seeing as I wasn’t in the mood for steak, I substituted shrimp.  While doing this, I was listening to Christmas music, of course.. which I’m so looking forward to since I will then have a month off from the road! Anywho, Here’s what I was checking out..

Homemade Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Whisk together, season with a pinch of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper.

Shrimp Salad: 

serves 2

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 oz baby bella mushrooms sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed and peeled roughly chopped
  • 3/4 lb raw large peeled and cleaned shrimp
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 stalks romaine lettuce chopped
  • heirloom tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 2 stalks celery chopped

In a medium pan over medium heat, heat 2 tbsp olive oil. When hot add mushrooms. Leave untouched for 2 minutes. Stir, and cook for an additional 3 minutes, until softened. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside. Over med high heat add another 2 tbsp of olive oil with  garlic. Season raw shrimp with salt and pepper. Add shrimp (if you don’t hear the sizzle then you did it too soon). Cook for about a minute on each side, until opaque. Remember, the shrimp continue to cook even when you take them off the heat. Don’t overcook. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Set aside. Construct salad and toss with homemade dressing.

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You can improvise:

  • Instead of using shrimp, try a different protein like steak or chicken.
  • Add your own favorite toppings, like toasted nuts
  • Try using a different type of lettuce like boston bibb lettuce

 

Did you know? 

Not only was Nat Cole an amazing singer and pianist, he was one of the first African Americans to host a television variety show, The Nat King Cole Show. His show debuted on NBC. If only he was still alive today! He’d be the most incredible guest to have on Adi’s Jazz Kitchen Cooking Show, don’t you think? 😉

Ginger Spiced Hot Chocolate and “Star Crossed Lovers”

I’ve been feeling rather nostalgic all morning since listening to Pepper Adams play the baritone saxophone.. It’s made me miss my baby.. Unfortunately this whole time since I’ve been home, my horn’s been in the shop.. so, I can’t wait to get it back tomorrow and get back to it. In the meanwhile, I made something super warm and comforting to go along with an incredibly beautiful melody by Duke Ellington, ♫”Star Crossed Lovers”. Here’s my recipe for ginger spiced hot chocolate and a homemade cinnamon whipped cream.

What you need:

  • 4 cups milk (any type your prefer- I used whole)
  • 1 cup chocolate, chopped from the block (combination of dark and semisweet for me- but use whatever kind you like)
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (or nutmeg powder)

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

In a medium stock pot over medium heat, heat milk, stirring occasionally. Once hot, whisk in chocolate. Then, whisk in ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom, and nutmeg. Whisk until smooth. Set aside. In a stand mixer, mix heavy cream and the cinnamon until the whipped cream creates soft to medium peaks. Pour hot chocolate in your favorite mug, top with the whipped cream and enjoy!

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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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Smoothie Diaries: Adi’s Ultimate Green Smoothie

The beautiful thing about green smoothies is you’ll get a full serving of veggies without tasting them! The key to doing this is adding a sweet frozen fruit. This one’s one of my favorites. It’s packed with so many vitamins, the perfect thing to kick your metabolism in high gear, and gives you a ton of energy to start off your day. On this morning’s listening list is also one of my favorite, most fun and energetic musicians, Cannonball Adderley.

What you need: 

  • 3 cups loosely packed kale
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 banana
  • 3/4 cup frozen pineapple
  • 3/4 cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp flaxseeds
  • 1inch x 1inch fresh ginger

Method:

Blend!

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What kind of music do you like to start your day off to?

Episode 2 “Jam Session” Featuring Hailey Niswanger

Sweet Potato French Fries
  • Sweet potatoes cut into wedges (the smaller they are the quicker they cook)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line baking sheets with foil. Toss sweet potato with generous amounts of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and enough olive oil to lightly coat the potatoes. Spread them out evenly amongst the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or more depending on the size of the pieces.
 Salmon Sandwiches with a garlicky herb aioli
Serves: 6
For the aioli: 
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp water
  • 2 cloves garlic made into a paste
  • 1/2 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil combined
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil
  • squeeze of lemon
Whisk together yolk, salt, and water in a medium sized bowl. Add garlic. Line a pot slightly bigger than the bowl with a towel so your whisking bowl stays put, or have someone hold the bowl. Slowly whisk in oil mixture. A squeeze bottle is ideal for this, if not a cup with a spout. Continue whisking while mixture emulsifies. If mixture breaks you can start over and pour in the previous mixture. Continue pouring oil and whisking until it reaches desired consistency. Season accordingly. If aioli is too thick, you can add water to thin it out. Add a tbsp full of thyme, a tbsp full of chopped basil, and fresh lemon juice.
For the salmon:
  • 2 lbs salmon cut into fillets
  • Salt
  •  Pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 challah buns (or your favorite kind of bun/roll)
  • 3 plum tomatoes sliced
  • 1 head Boston lettuce
  • 3 roasted shallots (roasted with the sweet potato french fries)
 Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. On baking sheets season fillets with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. Bake salmon for 12-15 minutes until they are cooked through. 5 minutes before you take out the salmon toast the buns in the oven. Take everything out of the oven and construct your salmon sandwiches!

 

You can improvise:

  • adding different fresh herbs to the aioli
  • adding different herbs/spices to sweet potato fries like rosemary
  • Dressing the sandwiches with your favorite toppings

Bye South America, Hello New York! (roasted butternut squash soup)

Now that I’ve been home for a day or so, I’ve really been able to reflect on my tour to South America with Beyonce. I have to say, it was really rough! Not a lot of sleep, lots of traveling, the life of a musician. Fortunately, the pros outweighed the cons! Just the people alone that I met in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico were so beautiful and incredibly inspiring! I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone that I came across! You have a place in my heart forever and I’m so grateful for all of you! Here’s a little video after our last show in Puerto Rico:

One of the things that I was looking forward to most in New York (besides seeing my family of course) was the fall time! These 2 weeks will be the only fall I experience this year since we’ll be heading to Australia and New Zealand next! So the next 2 weeks are all about me making my favorite fall dishes! First one’s up!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Yield: serves 2

What you need:

  • 1 medium butternut squash peeled, deseeded, cubed (the smaller you cube it the faster it roasts)
  • 2 shallots halved
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp plain green yogurt (with extra for garnishing)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder

Method:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Season squash and shallots generously with salt and pepper. Toss in olive oil until coated evenly. Spread squash and shallots out evenly on a cookie sheet and bake until tender all the way through (30-45 minutes) flipping every once in a while. Meanwhile,  toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over med heat (watching carefully to not burn the nuts!). Once squash is tender put in a blender with 2 cups chicken stock and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency. Remove from blender and pour into a stock pot over medium heat. Stir in cardamom powder and greek yogurt. Pour into bowls and garnish with toasted pine nuts and a dollop of yogurt. Serve with a toasted baguette.

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Improvise

  • Try toasted almond slices instead of pine nuts
  • You can use heavy cream instead of greek yogurt
  • Try roasting  root vegetables like parsnips or carrots as the soup base

This recipe is so warm and comforting. Perfect for the autumnal season in New York! All we need left is that air outside to get a little colder and crisper! (why does it still feel like summer, NY?!) The perfect song to go with this recipe is none other than, “Autumn in New York” performed by Joe Lovano and the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra (this is a throw back to my Jailyard days.. that’s me on baritone)

Ciao!

A