Daily Dish

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Category: Reader recipes

Culinary SOS: Ooey-gooey chocolate cookie mania

Milkcookiemichaelrobinsonchavez

Every week we receive e-mails and letters from readers about the recipes we test and run. But every once in a while we run a recipe that hits a nerve -- or, in this case, the sweet tooth -- in a really big way.

Our Jan. 14 Culinary SOS, Meghan Rose's request for Milk's Ooey-gooey double-chocolate cookies, did just that.

Of course, when you run a recipe that contains almost blinding amounts of chocolate, what else would you expect?

I'm still getting e-mails from readers (and fellow chocoholics).  Thought I'd share a few:

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Get Cooking: Fresh ingredients are just the start to this soup

Today's article on making vegetable soup is our last installment in our Get Cooking series, which is all about learning some recipe basics, tossing in some kitchen staples — and then improvising.

Several readers were kind enough to share their take on some of these recipes, including Kathy Leslie, who favored the pasta and broccoli dish, and offered up this variation:

"Thought you might like to know about a variation that we've made for years — to your pan of olive oil, add about 2 oz chopped pancetta (I just use the whole package of chopped pancetta available at Trader Joe's for $2.99) and cook till it renders and browns a little....

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Barbara Jezior's kale, sweet potato and kielbasa soup

Russian_kaleThis Food section cover story and video has been a hit with readers, landing on the lists for the Top 10 most e-mailed and most-viewed articles.

It was all about learning to cook in 2009. It kicks off by taking a single great ingredient -- in this case, dried pasta, which Times Food Editor Russ Parsons calls "a cook's best friend" -- and then improvising. The headline said it all: Dinner in the real world.

Several of you wrote to share some of your own recipes and ideas for getting dinner on the table each night with time to spare. We'll post them in the days ahead. (If you have a recipe to share, please e-mail us at food@latimes.com. Include a photo too, if you have one.)

First up: a recipe for kale, sweet potato, and kielbasa soup from Barbara Jezior of Murrieta. You'll find it below. Barbara likes this soup because it involves very little hands-on cooking, can be made in advance and is a whole meal in itself. She adds: "It also happens to be delicious, nutritious and comforting!"

Thanks for sharing your recipe, Barbara (and the suggestion that we serve with a red Zinfandel.)

--Rene Lynch

A toast to cooking more in 2009 ... recipe after the jump.

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Anyone have a recipe for broccoli slaw — sans the 'treetops'?

Dsc00948So I'm having dinner with some friends at Shillelagh's,  a new restaurant at East 4th Street and Temple Avenue in Long Beach. It's in an up-and-coming part of the downtown area right next door to a pool hall, which makes it sound grungy but actually lends a little something  to the casual atmosphere. (This is, after all, the LBC.) The menu has a little bit of everything — burgers, salads, pastas, some seafood dishes, etc. I went with the BBQ burger because it came with something called "broccoli slaw." Never heard of that before. When the burger arrived — with thick slab onion rings on top!!! — I peered down at the plate. Um.

"Where's the broccoli slaw?" I asked the waitress. She pointed to my side dish. (Clearly, she'd had this question before.)

Turns out Shillelagh's makes its slaw by turning broccoli stalks into a julienne, then tossing them in a light, tangy dressing. No "treetops" in sight. I tried to detect where the sweetness was coming from — this is definitely a dish I'd like to try to duplicate at home. "Uh-oh," my husband said, rolling his eyes. "She's trying to reverse-engineer it."

At one point, I thought I'd narrowed it down to maple syrup. But who puts maple syrup on broccoli — am I right?

Turns out owner Donnie Larson does. He was kind enough to confirm that when he stopped by the table to see how our meal had been. He also told us that the chard on my friend's plate had been handpicked that afternoon from a garden just up the street. I was thrilled at finding a new neighborhood restaurant, and figuring out a secret ingredient. It was like winning the Quick Fire challenge on "Top Chef." Only there was no Padma. (Too bad for my husband.)

Now I just need some help figuring out the rest of that dish. Anyone out there have a recipe that comes close to this description?

— Rene Lynch

Photo by Ron Joseph

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