Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Fun With Food

Turntable Kitchen: Pairing food and music

Turntable kitchen logo Food and music combined can meld two art forms into one blissful, head-bobbing, hip-shaking pairing. After dancing around the kitchen of their San Francisco apartment time and time again, Kasey and Matthew Hickey decided to take their love for food and music a step further by launching the website Turntable Kitchen.

The couple hand-picks music to be listened to while cooking and eating suggested recipes. Recent pairings include a sweet corn and raspberry ice cream paired with Canadian singer-songwriter Feist's "Let It Die"; and a blueberry-mint jam paired with the self-titled debut album by Brooklyn-based trio Widowspeak.

Through Turntable Kitchen, the Hickeys hope to introduce more people to the natural connection between food and music. To that end, Matthew picks the music and Kasey chooses the recipes. Most recently, the duo launched the Turntable Kitchen Pairings Box, a monthly subscription in which subscribers receive a hand-assembled box in the mail with a custom-mixed vinyl record featuring favorite and up-and-coming bands; seasonal, themed recipes; dried ingredients; and suggested pairing and tasting notes.

Tkwatermelon saladBelow, the couple share their thoughts on the topic of, you guessed it, food and music:

What restaurants in San Francisco do you find yourself going to again and again -- and what do you order?

Kasey Hickey: Outerlands (any of its soups and a side of bread), NOPA (giant baked beans and a pork chop) and Koo (amazing appetizer called Spoonful of Happiness -- it's to die for, and comes with a shot of sake).

How do you begin when selecting a song?

Matthew Hickey: When I select a pairing, I like to start by thinking about the flavors in the meal. I'll write down a few descriptive terms to help get the process going with words like floral, sweet, rustic, intense, subtle, upbeat, textured, contemporary, etc.  I'll also take into account geographic factors, which can help narrow down my selections. So, for example, if we have a sweet, upbeat and rustic recipe that includes ingredients that are commonly associated with the Pacific Northwest, I'll go through my record collection and rack my brain for a band whose music is also sweet, upbeat, rustic and, ideally, from the Pacific Northwest.

Favorite cookbook?

Kasey: The Canal House series are always on heavy rotation, "Heart of the Artichoke" by David Tanis, "Good to the Grain" (for baking) and both of Heidi Swanson's books. Even though we're not vegetarians, I love her interesting twists on seasonal cooking and choices of spices and grains.

Recent ingredient-obsessed usage?

Kasey: Marash pepper -- I put it in and on everything these days. I'm obsessed!

Five favorite recipe-song pairings?

Matthew: I have a number of personal favorites, but five recent ones that come to mind are (in no particular order):

1. SBTRKT paired with honey and rose water tapioca
2. The Decemberists paired with spicy, picked green beans
3. Beirut paired with poached halibut and corn salad
4. Crab pasta paired with James Vincent McMorrow
5. The Black Keys paired with the American burger


New grapes at the market

Cabana cocktails at the Peninsula Beverly Hills

Eat Florence

-- Caitlin Keller

Photo: Turntablekitchen.com

Colored cutlery: Laguiole steak knives

Laguiole Summer always seems to bring about either all white -- or bright and bold colored -- kitchenware. If you're veering on the color spectrum side of dinnerware, these steak knives by Laguiole might just find a home as cutlery on your dining -- or outdoor patio -- table this season. Made in France, each blade features Napoleon's exclusive bee crest. $78 for a set of six. Available at Anthropologie.com.


Food Events: Cooking demos; tofu-and-wine dinner

Making meringue

Wine Events: Melville dinner; Buttonwood Farm

-- Caitlin Keller

Photo: Laguiole steak knives. Credit: Anthropologie.com

Tamasin Day-Lewis on jewels and radishes

Hemmerle CORNHemmerle STEAK 

Tamasin Day-Lewis — English chef, food writer and sister of "There Will Be Blood" star Daniel Day-Lewis — and the design house of Hemmerle have collaborated to conceive "Delicious Jewels," a book that simultaneously explores the tastes, textures, shapes and bold colors of both jewelry making and cooking, two different but equally eminent art forms. [Updated 11 a.m. July 18: An earlier version of this post described Hemmerle as a publishing house.]

"Both rely on technique, long experience and tradition, purism and originality without pretentiousness," says Day-Lewis. She adds, "Elegant simplicity at best, both are beautiful to the eye and a joy to the senses."

In celebration of summer and its agricultural offerings, we've asked Day-Lewis to share her thoughts on the recently released book, her favorite California eats, and what she's cooking up this season:

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Free food: Früute opens on Saturday in WeHo


Früute comes to West Hollywood on Saturday, with tarts gratuit for all who want to come and get 'em from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. during the shop's grand opening.

A family affair, Yolanda Santosa has collaborated with her mother and younger sister to open a pastry shop a la tart on Santa Monica Boulevard, creating edible works of art.

Their 18 signature tarts are hand-made from scratch daily. Featured offerings include the budino, with creamy butterscotch pudding in a chocolate crust, topped with a caramel-filled macaroon; the piña colada, a tropical burst of pineapple, coconut and rum in a coconut sprinkled crust, topped with a blackberry and gooseberry; the mont blanc, caramelized banana with a hint of rum in a chocolate crust, topped with caramel wafer, chestnut cream swirl and pistachio; and the araguani, with araguani chocolate in a chocolate crust, topped with rose petal and gold leaf.

Tarts are $3 each, $12 for a box of four or $24 for a box of eight.

8951 Santa Monica Blvd., Ste. A, West Hollywood, (310) 786-9983, www.fruute.com.


Frozen blackberry souffle

Battle of the Burgers

Buzz wine shop opens

-- Caitlin Keller

Photo credit: Früute

Pop-up dinner club: RnD Table

Cooking his way, nonprofessionally, to Gordon Ramsay’s "MasterChef" competition on Fox, Michael “Q” Kim impressed more than just at-home viewers, landing himself a position in the kitchen at the Bazaar by José Andrés in the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. At the Bazaar, Kim met cook Conrad Malaya and RnD Table began to take shape.

Kim and Malaya wanted to give young chefs –- who usually spend their days executing someone else's vision -– the opportunity to express their own culinary visions, designing and delivering a menu entirely of their own... a rite of passage, if you will. The two culinary visionaries collaborated to create RnD Table, an underground dinner club giving cooks a shot at the limelight normally reserved for the kitchen big wigs, head honchos and top chefs.

The club's first few dinners will be hosted by its founders, Kim and Malaya, but future dinners can be expected to feature several versatile chefs from around L.A. and farther afield.

Follow RnD Table on Facebook and Twitter to receive updates on upcoming dinners, including dates and locations. The suggested donation is $60 per person, not including tip.


LAX restaurants

Buffet psychology 101

Coney Dog opens in West Hollywood

-- Caitlin Keller

Photo: Korean-Chicano braised short ribs, or galbi jjim.  Credit: Kenny Ahn

Wanted: Camping cuisine suggestions

El capitan 2 The first day of summer has officially arrived. With more opportunity to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle, L.A.’s nature-loving folk are setting aside more time for outdoorsy getaways -- camping included -- while the season is in session.

As a camping enthusiast, I’ve satisfied my breath-of-fresh-air cravings with one- or two-day trips to some of Southern California’s most scenic settings. Some especially cool locations to have your camping thrills are Santa Barbara’s El Capitan State Beach, Joshua Tree’s White Tank, Hidden Valley, Indian Cove or Jumbo Rocks campgrounds and Sequoia National Park. A longer drive in a northern direction will take you to Big Sur, with Andrew Molera and Pfeiffer Big Sur as top campground destinations.

El capitan I always come home feeling refreshed and revived, but this is my dilemma: figuring out what the heck to eat. I’ve been putting off buying a camping stove for some time now (I know, it’s crazy talk) and have had to make do with caveman circumstances -- cooking over a fire. Because my fire-making skills are average and I’m no expert at taming the beast enough to cook well (maintaining a high or low flame, etc.), I’ve settled for baked potatoes, spaghetti and hot links …

And that's where you come in: I'm looking for suggestions that might be of help to campers who, like me, have hit a brick wall when it comes to thinking up excellent meals, with or without a camping stove. I want to enjoy the scenery and eat well too, you know? What do you cook when you camp?


'The Trip' movie

South Bay dining

5 Questions for Alex Reznik

-- Caitlin Keller 

Photos: El Capitan State Beach. Credit: Caitlin Keller

Put Dad to the test this Father's Day: Chile Habanero Eating Contest


Who better to enter a Chile Habanero Eating Contest on Father’s Day than Dad himself? Chichen Itza Restaurant specializes in cuisine from the Yucatán Peninsula, a region of Mexico that consumes ultra-hot chiles habaneros on the daily. For those who have never eaten a chile habanero, here’s some insight: In comparison to the jalapeno pepper, which rates 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville scale (a measurement of the spicy heat of a chili pepper), the chile habanero rates 100,000 to 350,000. How’s that for picante?

On Sunday, June 19, the Downtown L.A. eatery challenges all spicy food lovers, not just dads, to become contenders as they bravely face the restaurant’s Chile Kut, a roasted chile habanero sauce, at the fiery event as part of the Father’s Day celebration at Mercado La Paloma. Interested? Register up to one hour prior to contest time, which starts at 2 p.m. 3655 S. Grand Ave., L.A., 213-741-1075, chichenitzarestaurant.com.


Father's Day dining guide

3 Food Events You Should Know About

Jambon beurre sandwich

--Caitlin Keller

Photo credit: David Karp / Los Angeles Times

Food art: Toasty coasters

Coasters3 Shaped like pieces of bread with a perfectly toasted appeal (thanks to the cork), this fun-for-the-home-or-as-a-gift coaster/trivet set designed by Patricia Naves proves that some things, with a purpose as simple as keeping rings off your furniture, can be gratifyingly amusing. Available online at Urban Outfitters for $14. Urbanoutfitters.com.

-- Caitlin Keller

Photo: The Toast It trivet/coaster set. Credit: Oiti.com.br

Canning it: Preserving with alcohol

Cherries in Vodka
Preserving food is not just about canning tomatoes and making nectarine jam. The LA County Master Food Preservers are trained as volunteer educators to answer questions about preservation and fermentation; and that includes working with and making alcohol -- such as brewing beer, making cordials and using alcohol as a preservative. Unfortunately for those of you who want to distill at home, that's still illegal. No matter how much you want to build a still, the federal government says no.  Alcohol is fun to brew, though, and is a fantastic preserving agent, since at 80 proof/40% alcohol by volume no bacteria can survive in it.

Peaches in brandy are a classic and delicious marvel of food preservation. We love plums in whiskey and citrus in vodka--though that may really be more about the vodka than the citrus. And if you have a surfeit of vanilla pods, what better way to preserve them than in a big bottle of inexpensive rum -- creating vanilla extract. The flavor doesn’t dissipate, it never spoils and you can use it for years if stored properly.

All you have to do is slice the beans –- about four per liter -– lengthwise, add to the alcohol, shake and store in a cool, dark place for a few months. When the brew is nice and dark, you can use it as is and also strain out the beans, let them dry a bit and use them for baking, though they won’t be as potent.

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Canning It: Working under pressure

Pressure Canner by Rachael Narins
When most people think of canning, they think of boiling water canning; taking food that has been placed in jars and boiling it for a recommended amount of time to make it last.

When you make fruit jam or pickles that way, you have something to eat and perhaps some handsome gifts to give away. But there are limitations to what can be boiling water processed and you can’t really feed your family on jelly and pickles. This is where pressure canning comes in.

Pressure canners (which are different than pressure cookers) are huge industrial-looking pots that have clamps and gauges, weights and valves and 12-page instruction manuals that are downright intimidating.  But don’t let that stop you. It’s simpler thank you think. All you have to do is follow the directions.

Continue reading »

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.