About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA
Author Archive | Cathy Arkle

cooking class… in cambodia

One of my favorite memories of my trip to Indochina was a humble hands-on cooking class I received in a rural Cambodian home.

My first project was to purchase eggs at the local market. Simple right? Not so. I was given the exact amount of money needed for my purchase. I didn’t see this as a problem until a swarm of very persistent children descended on us like vultures to a carcass. They used their best sales tactics to try to pry our money away from us by dangling baubles and bangles, old teeth, rocks and other found treasures in our face. I had to stay strong if I wanted to cook. So I pressed on.

scavenger hunt at cambodia market
Fish, fish and more fish… where were the eggs hiding? Continue Reading →

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

markets of the world…
iguanas, brains, & tarantulas, oh my!

iguana and avocados in Laos

I love a good farmer’s market. I frequent them weekly looking to discover my next favorite culinary gem. As much as I enjoy treasure hunts at the Los Angeles markets, it’s the markets of the world that intrigue me. Today’s blog is a visual journey to far away places with strange sounding names… not to mention food you probably wouldn’t consider eating!
Warning: some of the pictures are graphic – please don’t view this before eating unless you are on a diet.

woman carrying fish in luang prabang, laos

“FRESH FISH TO GO”

Our first adventure starts at the morning market in Luang Prabang, Laos. This city is a fascinating mishmash of oriental wooden dwellings with random kisses of European architecture thrown in. All reminiscent of a time when Laos was part of the French colony of Indochine. The royal capital of Laos resided here until the communist takeover in 1975. Continue Reading →

Read full story · Comments { 13 }

chicken with charisma…
winning hearts, one dish at a time

Chicken with Strawberry Sauce

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: CATHY NELSON ARKLE

What do you get when you cross a chicken, a goat and a strawberry?

Rona Lewis - Does this Cookbook Make Me Look Fat? Vol. 2Today’s recipe… which is no joke. “Chicken with Goat Cheese and Strawberry Sauce” is the creation of Celebrity Fitness / Lifestyle Coach & Healthy Gourmet Chef Rona Lewis from her latest book “Does this Cookbook Make Me Look Fat – Vol. 2.” I purchased this book after meeting Rona in a cooking class at BLT on Sunset Blvd. I’m having the best time cooking my way through this humorous and healthy cookbook.

If I wanted to win your heart via your stomach, I would make today’s recipe for you.  If I needed to keep your heart healthy, your weight in check, and make sure you had lots of vitamin C, K, B6, manganese, selenium & niacin…I would still make Rona’s recipe.

I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive about making this recipe. I haven’t been a fan of chicken since childhood when my Grandma Nelson raised and “harvested” chickens on our farm.  One hot summer day I returned from a trail ride on my horse, Pidge. The open barn door offered an invitation from the heat, and she bolted through as I hung on for the ride. Unbeknownst to me, Grandma had hung “dinner” across the entrance to the barn.  I was not prepared for this “in your face” welcoming from my recently deceased friends. (My childhood issue with chickens was lost after devouring this recipe)

Chicken craziness:

There are more chickens than people in the world.  You should have no trouble procuring the ingredients for this recipe!

Chickens were first domesticated for cockfighting.  Could it be their impressive genealogy that makes them a natural for combat?  Research has found that chickens are the closest living relative to Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Note to Michael Bay and Tom Cruise: Potential movie idea here? 

Until then, we will have to settle for cockfights “Family Guy” style.

Today’s Featured Recipe:  You will Rule the Roost with this recipe. If you have any leftover strawberry sauce it is great on ice cream.

Chicken with Goat Cheese and Strawberry Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
 
Reprinted from “Does This Cookbook Make Me Look Fat - Vol. 2” with permission
Ingredients
  • 3 C fresh strawberries cut into pieces
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 3 T strawberry spread- no sugar
  • Black Pepper
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 12 thin slices of goat cheese, about ½ oz each
  • 24 basil leaves – slivered
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • ¼ C fresh basil – slivered for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large Pyrex bowl, mix the strawberries, vinegar & strawberry spread together. Put aside.
  2. Make a horizontal cut almost through each chicken breast. Open the top half and sprinkle a large pinch of basil on one side. Take two slices of goat cheese and place them on the basil leaves. Sprinkle a touch more basil on top. Replace the top half. Sprinkle with pepper.
  3. In a 4 quart metal or oven-safe skillet, spray with olive oil. Over med-high heat, cook garlic for about 30 seconds. Add chicken breasts and brown for about 4 minutes on each side. Then, place both the skillet and Pyrex bowl of strawberries into the oven. Cook for 10 minutes. Take chicken out and let it rest on the stove. Cook berries another 5 minutes. Take out of oven and stir. Serve chicken with sauce. Sprinkle with basil leaves.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 62518g5g10g6g2g33g81mg
Strawberry & Goat Cheese Bruschetta Recipe by Rona Lewis

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: CATHY NELSON ARKLE

Other strawberry ideas:

If you can’t eat enough strawberries to make you happy this summer, you will love Rona’s other recipe Strawberry & Goat Cheese Bruschetta


Read full story · Comments { 9 }

the seafood saga…
6 things to know before you buy

Sustainable Salmon from Blue Water Grill, Redondo Beach, CA

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: CATHY NELSON ARKLE

Eating seafood can be a healthy choice, as well as an enjoyable one.  Nowadays, some fish and the way they are caught or harvested can be harmful to you and the environment. This has lead to the “sustainable seafood” movement.

Sustainable means fished or farmed sources that can maintain or increase production in the future without jeopardizing the ecosystems from which they are acquired.

Growing public concern about overfishing and environmentally destructive fishing methods has resulted in many seafood restaurants offering sustainable seafood options.

I recently had an media opportunity to learn about one restaurant’s commitment to sustainability. The Bluewater Grill (in their Newport Beach, Tustin and Redondo Beach, CA locations) currently serves 85% sustainable, and are targeting 100%.

Sustainable seafood is a complex and controversial subject. Here are a few tips that will help you select seafood that is healthy and sustainable.

Six Tips for Selecting Seafood 

  1. Keep informed and up to date. Seafood supplies are constantly changing. A good start would be the “State of Seafood Report
  1. Download the “Seafood Watch pocket guide from Monterey Bay Aquarium or get the “Seafood Watch App” for iPhone or Android
  1. Ask.  Whether eating in a restaurant or store, ask where is it from and how was it caught or farmed.  The more consumers inquire about suppliers and supplies, the greater the demand for accountability.
  1. Buy from trusted retailers.  Santa Monica Seafood, Whole Foods and Bristol Farms are a good start. Find guides to other good retailers like this one from  Marine Stewardship Council Conservation Alliance. Buying online is another option. One reputable seller is ilovebluesea.com. Proprietor Jimmy Ulcickas, of Bluewater Grill also suggest getting to know your local fishmonger or proprietor. They can help guide you with current information.
  1. Buy American. It isn’t perfect, but the U.S. variety of a particular type of fish is generally better than its imported counterpart because of stricter fishing and farming standards. Having seen fish farms in Vietnam, I personally can’t endorse fish from that region, especially tilapia.
  1. Buy wild. Given current issues with the environmental impact of fish farming, a wild-caught fish is almost always “healthier” than a farmed fish of the same variety. There are exceptions, remember to ask.

Great websites for cooking sustainable seafood:

Inspired Choices by Aquarium of the Pacific
Monterey Bay Aquarium Recipes
Marine Stewardship Council Recipes
Whole Living

Recommended Cookbooks:

Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast   by Becky Selengut
Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood by Taras Grescoe

This is the beginning of the culinary seafood journey, with many entries to come.

Herbert Hover once said, “All men are equal before fish”.
I say… “all fish are not equal before men…choose wisely”.
….and then, she paused for thought.

 

Read full story · Comments { 1 }

a date with ginger…
guaranteed to please!

Ginger Spiked Dates

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: CATHY NELSON ARKLE

To date or not to date… that is the question. After trying today’s recipe, you will no longer have to ask. Dates are an intoxicating indulgence of the senses by way of a sugar rush. This is brilliant, considering they’re a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates; AND they’re virtually free of fat, cholesterol and sodium! Warning – after I’ve had my way with them… that all changes.

The Virtuous Date:

Dates come from the date palm. They’ve been instrumental to humans since the beginning of time and believed to have originated near the Persian Gulf.

Primeval Mesopotamians capitalized on the tree’s versatility and value. They felt the palm offered 360 uses including needles, thread, lumber, mattresses, rope, baskets and other household items; as well as food and beverage.

Ancient literature praise the merits of the date’s diverse powers – from an aphrodisiac to a contraceptive. Wow… I don’t even want to know how they figured that one out. Probably while on a date of some kind.

Egypt is currently the top producer of dates followed by Iran.

If you can’t find dates at your local store they are readily available online. Medjool are my favorites as they are plump, deep in color, soft in texture and rich in flavor. Dates can also be kept frozen for up to a year with no loss of taste or quality.

shepaused4thought_line-NEW

Today’s Featured Recipe:

These engorged delights are perfect for picnics,
afternoon tea and The Hollywood Bowl.

Just ask Sophia!

 

Ginger Spiked Stuffed Dates
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup mascarpone cheese*
  • 1 teaspoon crystallized ginger, minced
  • 10 Medjool dates pitted|
  • 10 walnuts or pecans
  • fresh mint sprigs
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl mix the mascarpone cheese and ginger until combined.
  2. Using a small spoon, spoon about ½ tsp of the mixture into the date
  3. Top with walnut and decorate with a mint sprig
Notes
*Substitute goat cheese, blue cheese, neufchatel cheese (cream cheese) or almond butter. Serves: 2-3

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: CATHY NELSON ARKLE

Date-licious!

Special thanks to Yodi & Rikki for the beautiful Wedgewood tea set!

I have already put it
to good use.

 

Quote of the day:

If the heavens throw you dates, you got to keep your mouth open.
– Navjot Singh Sidhu

….and then, she paused for thought.

 

 

Read full story · Comments { 1 }