Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Cooking

The Latin Dish: Free bimonthly magazine for the iPad

Latin dishI just downloaded a new free bimonthly magazine for the iPad called the Latin Dish from Via Vargas Media. The editor is Joe Vargas Bock, who writes in his letter to the editor, “Our goal for the Latin Dish is to celebrate Latin American food by exploring its distinctiveness and educating each other on its role in current society, its root cultures, and the way it has evolved, all while giving recognition to the ways in which each of us makes it our own.”

In the first issue is a tribute to Jacqueline Vargas Bock’s grandmother Hope Saldaña Vargas along with her traditional tamale recipe, which her daughters make every Christmas. There’s also an article on Austin eats and food trucks, the history of pralines (a Tex-Mex favorite, who knew?), a brief treatise on making tortillas (how about a video, too, so we can see how it’s done?) and an interview with Cuban American chef Fernando Saralegui of the family cooking show Papi’s Kitchen.

Edible landscaping pioneer Rosalind Creasy, author of “Edible Mexican Garden” Latin chef (Tuttle Publishing, 2000) has a story called “Cooking from the Mexican Garden.” That’s not everything in the table of contents, but enough to give an idea of where the publication is headed.

The first issue has a sweet homemade quality to it, especially the photos. If the staff can keep up the quality of the articles and cover the whole spectrum of Latin cuisine, the magazine could work. Definitely. But it can’t be just a family project. And it could use someone more knowledgeable to write about Latin wines. I’d love to see something on the Baja wine country and the chefs there. How’s that for a second issue theme?

Remember, the Latin Dish is free at the iTunes store. Check it out. And send in any suggestions to the editor at joe@thelatindish.com

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-- S. Irene Virbila

Twitter.com/sirenevirbila

Photos: Cover of the Latin Dish iPad magazine, chef Fernando Saralegui. Courtesy of the Latin Dish.

Twitter #Weekendeats highlights: Spam musubi push-pops and more

Weekendeats
Mondays can be tough at the office. You've just returned from a weekend of relaxation and now it's time to get back to the grind, so we try to make things a little easier by revisiting the weekend fun with #weekendeats. Every Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. we host a #weekendeats chat on Twitter, where people tweet us pictures and recipes of what they ate over the weekend using the #weekendeats hashtag.

This week, the chat was especially memorable with some unique eats, the most unusual being an inventive way to eat Spam in the form of a Spam musubi push-pop -- a genius invention from the blog JustJennrecipes.com. Some of the other highlights included a skirt steak made with an Ethiopian chile paste called awaze from Aliya LeeKong, a recipe from FineDiningLovers.com for paratha, Indian flatbread, and a picture of a foie gras, scallop, spinach and brown sugar reduction shared by Twitter user @Carolineoncrack.

For those with a sweet tooth, we had a couple of unconventional desserts that were definitely worth a second look. Blogger Carol Sacks shared a recipe for spicy brown butter chocolate chip cookies with Mexican Style chocolate and oats from her blog inmediasrecipe.com, and Hong and Kim of the blog The Ravenous Couple shared a recipe for macaron ice cream sandwiches made with black sesame macarons and matcha green tea ice cream.

After the chat, we ask people to upload pictures of their #weekendeats to our What did you eat this weekend? photo gallery. We're going to start featuring some of the photos right here on Daily Dish, so be sure to check back for more #weekendeats fun throughout the week.

Hope to see everyone next Monday morning on Twitter! It's sure to be a drool-worthy good time.

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Photo: Screen shot of an excerpt of the Monday morning #weekendeats food chat on Twitter.

Dinner tonight!: Scrambled eggs with fines herbes

Eggs with herbs
Eggs aren't just for breakfast. Gently cook them to a soft scramble, sprinkle over some chopped fresh herbs, and serve alongside some toasted baguette slices. It makes for a perfectly light main course, as Food editor Russ Parsons shows with this simple recipe.

For more quick-fix dinner ideas, check out our video recipe gallery here. Food Editor Russ Parsons and Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter show you how to fix a dozen dishes in an hour or less.

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Photo credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

All natural: La Chamba black clay pots

La ChambaThis is where the Internet leads you. I saw these great looking black clay mugs on a design site, I truly can't remember where, but more than one place. I loved the rustic hand-built shape and the sheen of the black, burnished clay. I found out they were made in Colombia in a way that dates back 700 years. The pottery is all natural -- unglazed and with no lead in the clay. The handmade pottery can be used on the stovetop, in the oven and the microwave. But shouldn't go into the dishwasher.

And while I didn’t turn up those exact mugs (the closest cost $30 apiece, which I am not going to spend for a mug), I did come across a site, Toque Blanche, selling all sorts of La Chamba cookware, including comals for heating tortillas, handsome casseroles and soup and bean pots. The next thing I knew I was ordering a soup pot, standing in the kitchen with a measuring tape and a couple of likely bowls in order to visualize the size of each model.

When confronted with a choice, I always go for the largest. My husband tried to interject some sense. Just how many beans are you going to cook at a time? Not for me the mini, or even the small versions. They felt, well, stingy in size. In the end, I went with the medium, which purportedly held 3 1/2 quarts. 

I liked its fat belly and the handles like stubby wings.

The pot came yesterday and the medium is big, as in BIG. The site’s measurements seem to be that of the opening, not the diameter of the full-bellied pot. It’s quite handsome and I’m thinking perfect as a soup tureen, and because both husband and I are under the weather, he decided to make a pot of soup. I’ll let you know how that goes.

La Chamba Soup pot, medium, $59.95 from La Toque online. They also have beautiful little salsa dishes, salad and fruit bowls, and an array of other black clay cookware.

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Photos: La Chamba bean pot. Credit: S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times

 

La ChambaThis is where the Internet leads you. I saw these great looking black clay mugs on a design site, I truly can't remember where, but more than one place. I loved the rustic hand-built shape and the sheen of the black, burnished clay. I found out they were made in Colombia in a way that dates back 700 years. The pottery is all natural -- unglazed and with no lead in the clay. The handmade pottery can be used on the stovetop, in the oven and the microwave. But shouldn't go into the dishwasher.

And while I didn’t turn up those exact mugs (the closest cost $30 apiece, which I am not going to spend for a mug), I did come across a site, Toque Blanche, selling all sorts of La Chamba cookware, including comals for heating tortillas, handsome casseroles and soup and bean pots. The next thing I knew I was ordering a soup pot, standing in the kitchen with a measuring tape and a couple of likely bowls in order to visualize the size of each model.

When confronted with a choice, I always go for the largest. My husband tried to interject some sense. Just how many beans are you going to cook at a time? Not for me the mini, or even the small versions. They felt, well, stingy in size. In the end, I went with the medium, which purportedly held 3 1/2 quarts. 

I liked its fat belly and the handles like stubby wings.

The pot came yesterday and the medium is big, as in BIG. The site’s measurements seem to be that of the opening, not the diameter of the full-bellied pot. It’s quite handsome and I’m thinking perfect as a soup tureen, and because both husband and I are under the weather, he decided to make a pot of soup. I’ll let you know how that goes.

La Chamba Soup pot, medium, $59.95 from La Toque online. They also have beautiful little salsa dishes, salad and fruit bowls, and an array of other black clay cookware.

ALSO:

Chat with Mr. Gold

Found! Vintage juicer

First Impression: End of Communism at Rivera

-- S. Irene Virbila

twitter.com/sirenevirbila

Photos: La Chamba bean pot. Credit: S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times

 

Cooking with: Ross-on-Wye Perry

PerryWorking my way through British food writer Nigel Slater's "Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard," I came across a recipe for pork shoulder roasted in perry.

Perry? Made from fermented pears, perry's common in Britain, especially in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Commercial perry recently also has been called "pear cider," but some still make a distinction between the two. Traditionally, they're produced slightly differently. Specific varieties of pears are grown for perry (with names such as Mumblehead and Red Huffcap). 

My corner wine shop happened to carry Ross-on-Wye Perry. From the little town of Ross-on-Wye, it's a traditional rustic perry made by cidermaker Mike Johnson, fermented in barrels with naturally-occurring, wild yeasts. Ross-on-Wye is known for experimenting with a variety of barrels, such as rum, whiskey and brandy, for fermenting its pear juice. 

The Ross-on-Wye Medium Dry Still Perry isn't carbonated and no sugar is added, so it isn't bubbly and isn't much sweet. It recalls mead or a dry white port. It's suited for cooking. "Perry is an astonishing drink -- refreshing, dry and fruity," Slater writes. "A small bottle upended into a pot roast will ensure a moist result and leave you with a decent amount of fruity pot juices to spoon over." And it did.  

Ross-on-Wye Perry, about $9 for 500ml, available at Buzz, 460 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, (213) 622-2222, www.buzzwinebeershop.com. 

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-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times

Bakespace and Cookbook Cafe out to 'democratize' the cookbook world

Cookbook_cafe_Hey you -- you look like a cookbook author.

Babette Pepaj, the L.A. entrepreneur who founded Bakespace, has created a D.I.Y. cookbook platform that turns everyone -- yes, including you -- into a cookbook author. The platform allows users to create both a searchable and interactive e-book and an iPad app that works across a variety of devices, no charge. The cookbooks are then made available at an online shop at Bakespace, called Cookbook Cafe, or on iTunes.

Pepaj says Cookbook Cafe aims to "democratize" the cookbook publishing landscape which, let's face it, leaves most of the food world on the outside looking in. (Unless you are a celebrity chef, a food blogger with a million followers, or the winner of Fox's "MasterChef," your chances of landing a cookbook deal are slim.)

"But everyone has at least one good recipe in them," says Pepaj. "This is a way to share that recipe with everyone, and get paid for it."

Cookbook Cafe only moved out of testing stage earlier this month, but it is already making a splash. It's a finalist at the International Assn. of Culinary Professionals Awards taking place on Monday in New York. It was nominated in the "Most Intriguing Use of Technology" category.

There is no charge for creating the cookbook, or making it available through iTunes via the Cookbook Cafe's storefront. "The only charge is if you make a sale," Pepaj said. However, Pepaj envisions that many of the cookbooks will be given away by charities looking to raise awareness about their cause, or food bloggers culling together their favorite recipes in a bid to build an online audience.

“We're finding that people have great ideas, but they can't get discovered. To even just get 'found,' to get past your friends and family, is really hard to do," she said. "With Cookbook Cafe, people can not only discover, they can get discovered."

Continue reading »

A rainy day's bollito misto


Bollito mistoRain was predicted last weekend, but who knew if it would really show up? Nevertheless, I decided to cook as if a tremendous storm were on the way. The garden needed rainy weather. I needed it, too, if only as an excuse to stay in and make bollito misto. It’s one of my favorite dishes, especially as it's prepared in Emilia-Romagna or Piedmont, where the mixed boiled meats are usually served up from a cart and carved, Lawry’s-style, right in front of you.

Some versions include half a dozen cuts, but I wasn't planning on anything that elaborate. I was feeling a little lazy, and so bought some brisket at Marconda Meats in the original Farmers Market and added a veal tongue I already had in the freezer. I knew I had a jar of pear mostarda somewhere and some good mustards. But I wanted one more sauce, which I found in David Tanis’ second cookbook, “Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys" (Artisan, New York, 2010, $35).

He boils tongue and beef brisket with onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns for about 3 hours and serves the sliced meats and carrot with boiled potatoes and two sauces — a caper sauce and a red pepper sauce. I made just the latter and it is terrific, just slightly hot and a gorgeous red that brightened up all that brown.

To make Tanis' red pepper sauce, put 1 cup good-quality canned tomatoes (drained), 1 garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, 1 roasted sweet red pepper (or 1/2 cup jarred roasted peppers) and 1/4 cup olive oil in a blender, and blend at high speed to a thick puree. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a small serving bowl and serve with the boiled meats. That’s it. Easy. 

In fact, the whole meal is easy and we had enough bollito misto left over for another supper, and for tongue tacos for lunch.

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-- S. Irene Virbila

twitter.com/sirenevirbila

Photo: Bollito misto. Credit: S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times

Easy fix: Bay-smoked potatoes

Cookbook author Rozanne Gold flies a bit under the wire. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mentioned her cookbooks, especially her first one, "Cooking 1-2-3: 500 Fabulous Three-Ingredient Recipes," to be met with a blank stare. Her recipes are simple but sophisticated. That first book is designed for people who like to cook but may not have time to drive all over town searching out a kazillion ingredients.

Her latest is “Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors With Breathtaking Ease” (Rodale, 339 pps., $35.) It borrows just one recipe from her earlier tome, namely bay-smoked potatoes, which I’ve been making for years now. 

Bay leafHandy that I happen to have a big bay tree in a pot outside the kitchen door. I realize, though, that I’ve been making it all this time with bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), instead of California bay, which is more aromatic. And that she uses dried leaves rather than fresh (probably because it’s unlikely anybody can find fresh leaves on the East Coast, where she lives). 

It works either way, with the bay giving the new potatoes a haunting smoky, herbal perfume. The texture is creamy, no further garnish needed. Just stick the pan in the oven an hour or so before you want to eat.

Here’s Gold’s recipe, reworded slightly to save space.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and scrub 1½ pounds very small white new potatoes; dry well. Do not peel. Toss with 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Distribute the bay leaves in a heavy ovenproof covered sauté pan. Arrange the potatoes on top of the bay leaves in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil or a cover. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until the potatoes are soft and wrinkled. Transfer the potatoes and bay leaves to a platter. Serves 4.

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-- S. Irene Virbila
Twitter.com/sirenevirbila

Photos: Bay-smoked potatoes. Credit: S. Irene Virbila/Los Angeles Times.

 

Angeleno wins Almost Famous West regional competition

Almost Famous West Competition 600

Joseph Johnson, of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles, is the winner of this year's S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef West regional competition in Hollywood.

The event, one of 10 held regionally, serves as a mentoring program for culinary students with a mission to help launch careers for today's chefs-in-the-making. Aspiring chefs are not only exposed to a fast-paced, high-intensity cooking environment through the competition but also experience a glimpse of the limelight while making connections with established chefs and the media.

In late January, six students from  half a dozen participating schools across the West -- the International Culinary School at the Art Institutes in Hollywood; Le Cordon Bleu Colleges of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Ore.,  and Seattle; and the Culinary Institute of America, St. Helena, Calif. -- competed in the event.

Johnson will be heading to Northern California for a three-day finals competition at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone from March 9-12. In celebration of the competition's 10th anniversary, Johnson will join and work alongside nine past winners to vie for the 2012 S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef title.

www.almostfamouschef.com

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Photo: Student competitors with winner Joseph Johnson. Credit: S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition

Chefly awards, including a big one for Mr. Puck


GetprevNo, not the Oscars. The James Beard Foundation has announced that this year’s lifetime achievement award will go to none other than our own Mr. Puck. The award is “bestowed upon someone whose lifetime body of work has had a positive and long-lasting impact on the way we eat, cook, and/or think about food in America.” You might have thought he would have won already, no?

In reference to Puck, Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation, explains, “He is the only person to win Outstanding Chef twice. Wolfgang has not only demonstrated to the industry his incredible talent but he has helped shape the industry by revolutionizing how American chefs think about food.  What sets Wolfgang apart, however, is that his creativity takes him beyond our industry’s walls. As a former Humanitarian Award recipient, he has shown that the culinary industry can improve the lives of others and benefit society as a whole.”

He’ll receive the award Monday, May 7, at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. 

WebIn the world of chefly awards, it doesn’t get much bigger than the Bocuse d’Or. That’s the international competition held in Lyon, France (home of legendary French chef Paul Bocuse). The winner of the  2012 USA Bocuse d’Or -- the competition to represent the United States in the next year's big competition -- is Richard Rosendale of the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. This is no "Top Chef" kind of thing where the chef just wings it and hopes not to be humiliated. Rosendale trained for months for the competition. He and his commis (assistant) Corey Siegel will now begin an intensive, yearlong training under the wings of Bocuse d’Or USA’s board of directors, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Jerome Bocuse. Team USA’s coaches include Thousand Oaks native Gavin Kaysen (executive chef, Daniel in NYC), Grant Achatz (Alinea, Chicago) and Gabriel Kreuther (the Modern, NYC). First stop: The French Laundry in Napa Valley. Goal: winning the 2013 Bocuse d’Or competition.

In just 363 days, Rosendale will compete in Lyon against chefs from 24 Web-1 countries for the championship (and a gold statue of Paul Bocuse). I have my fingers crossed that someone will be live-tweeting the competition, as happened with the USA round. 

Rosendale wasn’t the only winner, though. Rose Weiss, a student at the International Culinary Center and extern at Gramercy Tavern in New York, won the first-ever Commis Competition. Her prize? A three-month paid apprenticeship at a three-starred Michelin restaurant in France. Her choice of any of the twenty-five who have received the Michelin’s highest honor. Tristan Aitchison from Providence in Los Angeles placed third. Impressive.

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-- S. Irene Virbila
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Photos: Top: Wolfgang Puck at the Oscars. Credit. Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times. Middle: Chef Richard Rosendale, left, and commis Corey Siegel at the 2012 Bocuse d’Or USA. Credit: Courtesy of Bocuse d'Or USA Bottom: Rose Weiss competing in the new Commis Competition at the 2012 Bocuse d’Or USA. Credit: Courtesy of Bocuse d’Or USA.

 

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.