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Category: Russ Parsons

Catching the Wedge in Seal Beach

There's not much that beats a walk on the beach and a Wedge salad at The Abbey bar and grill in Seal BeachLook, I'm not going to argue that it's better than Alain Passard's harlequin of spring vegetables with sweet and sour sauce followed by a stroll through the gardens at the Musee Rodin. But at the end of a warm summer day, I can't think of much that beats a walk on the beach and a Wedge salad at The Abbey bar and grill in Seal Beach.

It's Southern California beer food at its best: a wedge of crisp iceberg lettuce, topped with a gloppy blue cheese dressing and sprinkled with bacon, diced red onions and tomatoes and chopped cilantro (blue cheese and cilantro, great combination!).

Follow that up with one of the restaurant's pizzas or -- if you took a really long walk -- one of its monument-sized hamburgers, and a craft beer (in this case, a refreshing orange-wheat from Hanger 24 in Redlands) and you've got a perfect summer Sunday dinner.

Be warned, it's a lot of food -- pictured above is half of a Wedge.

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April Bloomfield's rhubarb fool

-- Russ Parsons

Photo credit: Russ Parsons / Los Angeles Times

Dinner tonight! Yakitori

YakitoririchardhartogCan't quite decide what to fix for dinner tonight? Thinking about what to cook for the gang over the weekend? With yakitori, your options are seemingly endless.

Food editor Russ Parsons did a great piece on yakitori a few years back, and it's a perfect, laid-back approach to a meal, whether you're serving a backyard full of guests, or just the family.

Check out his recipe for chicken thighs with yakitori sauce below, and check out all the other options. Great ideas when you want your dinner fast and fun!

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.

ALSO:

Mac 'n' cheese recipes galore!

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Noelle Carter
You can find me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter

Photo credit: Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times

Continue reading »

Dinner tonight! Ultimate tri-tip

Tritipkenhively

If you're still wondering what to cook for the gang this holiday, I have the perfect recommendation. It's a grilled Santa Maria tri-tip from Food editor Russ Parsons, and I've been making it every July 4 since the recipe first ran back in 2005.

A little garlic, oil, salt and pepper are all you need to marinate the meat. Leave it out for a little while to come to room temperature, then smoke it on your charcoal grill. It's simple, and the flavors are amazing. Happy Fourth of July!

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.

ALSO:

Mac 'n' cheese recipes galore!

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Noelle Carter
You can find me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter

Photo: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

Continue reading »

Food FYI: Hot dogs, hot dogs and more hot dogs!

If it's the Fourth of July, that means it must be time for the Nathan's Famous famous hot dog eating contest
HOT DOG HISTORY

If it's the Fourth of July, that means it must be time for the Nathan's Famous famous hot dog eating contest. At least, that's been true since 1916. Read the whole history at Smithsonian magazine's Food & Think blog.

MORE DOGGONE STUFF

And of course, you're not going to be satisfied just reading a history of the event, no matter how charmingly told. So the good folks at ESPN have set it up so you can watch the 2012 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest as it unfolds, via live feed, starting at 9 a.m. PDT. The thrills; the spills; the mustard!

DINNER JACKETS?

It might not seem like the most obvious of product alliances, but Bon Appetit magazine is teaming up with Banana Republic for a line of clothing. Who knows? Maybe they'll come up with a fabric that resists mustard stains? Read about it here.

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A perfect knife

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Marcus Samuelsson's "Yes, Chef"

-- Russ Parsons and Jenn Harris

Photo: Hot dogs being weighed in preparation for the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Credit: Stan Honda / Getty Images

Food FYI: Tomato's downfall, still more burgers, haute Israeli?

There a fascinating story about how the push for redness in tomatoes led to the downfall of flavor
BETTER RED?

There a fascinating story from Gina Kolata at the New York Times about how the push for redness in tomatoes led to the downfall of flavor. A similar thing happened years ago with the Red Delicious apple, which was originally pink with pale green stripes and good flavor. As plant breeders focused on making the apples more red, the flavor deteriorated; it was found (too late) that the red pigment being produced actually had a bitter flavor.

MORE BURGERS!

Our great Battle of the Burgers wasn't enough? National Geographic has a book out on the 10 best of everything (yeah, I know, huh?), and it includes hamburgers. Local winners are In-N-Out (well, duh), and Apple Pan (have to confess, never understood the love). They also like the burgers at Gott's Roadside in St. Helena (used to be Taylor's Refreshers) and one of my personal favorites -- Blake's Lotaburger in New Mexico (the green chile cheeseburger is amazing).

IS ISRAELI THE NEXT THAI?

OK, maybe it's a stretch, but one of my favorite cookbook authors, Yotam Ottolenghi, has a book coming this fall on the cuisine of Jerusalem (look for an interview with him in the next couple of weeks from our own S. Irene Virbila). And one of my favorite food bloggers, Paris-based David Lebovitz, is positively paroxysmic over his meal at Haj Kahil in Tel Aviv. Do not look at his photos before lunch!

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"Praise the Lard" aprons and T-shirts. Don't we all?

-- Russ Parsons

Photo credit: All-American Selections

The pleasures of cold vegetables

Image

I spent Sunday at the stove steaming vegetables. Why? Take a look at these two pictures.

I hadn't even realized until I started organizing my photos that two of the best dishes I ate on vacation were in essence, the same: the first at l'Arpège and the second at the restaurant at Albergo Posta on Lake Como. They look very different, but when you get right down to it, they're both nothing more than perfectly cooked vegetables dressed with a little sauce -- in the first, a sweet-sour combination from a three-star chef, in the second, nothing but good olive oil, lemon juice and coarse salt. (To tell you the truth, I couldn't tell you which one I preferred.)

It takes a little time to get everything prepped and then you want to make sure you cook all the vegetables separately, so you can get the precise degree of doneness you want. "Laker" potatoes from Weiser Family Farms took about 15-17 minutes, zucchini took about 5 (cook them whole, then quarter them). Besides that, I've got chard stems (leaves saved for something else), artichokes, fennel, carrots and cauliflower.

Dinner Sunday night was an assortment served with aioli and cold rosé. Dinner Tuesday night might be the same combination but with olive oil and lemon juice, or maybe with an herbal mayonnaise. Who knows? When you've got a refrigerator full of great vegetables, the sky is the limit.

--Russ Parsons

ALSO:

Mac 'n' cheese recipes galore!

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

Photo credit: Kathy Parsons

Eat Beat: Spring soup of greens and pasta

In today's Eat Beat, Food editor Russ Parsons demonstrates how to make a simple soup of greens and pasta, seasoned with a touch of sherry vinegar and ground fennel seed and topped with a generous grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Continue reading below for the recipe.

Catch our televised recipe demonstrations on KTLA-TV, Channel 5 weekly toward the end of the 1 p.m. news hour; you can also watch the videos on Food's homepage.

ALSO:

Mac 'n' cheese recipes galore!

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

-- Noelle Carter
You can find me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Video credit: KTLA.

Continue reading »

This week's recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

Shortcakeglennkoenig

With beautiful strawberries showing up everywhere, it's the perfect time for shortcake. Times Restaurant Critic S. Irene Virbila shares her family memories of strawberry shortcake, along with what it takes to make this classic dessert just right:

The trick is to hand-shape the dough into rough patties about a half-inch thick .... No rolling, which makes them very quick to make. And I don't reheat them. Since they take just 10 to 15 minutes to bake. I'll have the dry ingredients already measured out. And as guests are finishing their main course, I'll cut the butter into the dough with a pastry blender, stir in the cream, form the patties and slip them into the oven.

A chilled whisk makes quick work of whipping the cream by hand. It's important to prepare the strawberry mixture before dinner. You want the berries juicy — and very cold, the better to contrast with the warm shortcake.

No worries -- she includes the recipe!

And Food Editor Russ Parsons shares the secrets to making panna cotta

It struck me — how long had it been since I’d had panna cotta? A few years ago you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing it. Then just as suddenly it went away. It makes no sense. A good panna cotta is as good as dessert gets. Vowing I would never again leave my panna cotta cravings to the whims of restaurant fashion, I determined to master the dish.

How hard could that be? There’s not a lot to a panna cotta recipe. It’s just dairy, sweetened and bound with gelatin. A bit of vanilla for flavor. That’s basically it. Why, then, are some of them so wonderful and others so blah?

That’s where the spreadsheet came in. Never underestimate the lengths a food geek will go to in order to master a simple dish. I analyzed a dozen recipes for panna cotta for three main attributes: the percentage of butterfat, the amount of gelatin and the sweetness.

He mastered it, and shares the recipe with us this week.

This week's recipes include:

When you try one of this week's recipes or any L.A. Times recipe, let us know! Upload a photo onto the "Our recipes, your kitchen" gallery to share your take on the recipe and tell us about yourself. Your photo will be posted online and may be selected to run in print with our weekly section.

ALSO:

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Noelle Carter
You can find me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Photo: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Eat Beat: Snickerdoodles

Looking for a simple something sweet for dessert? Food editor Russ Parsons loves pairing cookies with fresh summer fruit as a light but perfect end to a meal. In this Eat Beat, he demonstrates one of his favorites, the snickerdoodle.

Catch our televised recipe demonstrations on KTLA-TV, Channel 5, every week toward the end of the 1 p.m. news hour; you can also watch the videos on Food's homepage.

ALSO:

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Noelle Carter
You can find me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Video credit: KTLA.

Continue reading »

Eat Beat: Greek wheat berry dessert

In this Eat Beat, Food editor Russ Parsons demonstrates how to make a tender yet crunchy Greek wheat berry dessert, spiced with cinnamon and anise with nuts and dried fruit, and topped with ground graham crackers and sugar. You can find the recipe after the jump, or right here.

Catch our televised recipe demonstrations on KTLA-TV, Channel 5 every Wednesday and Friday toward the end of the 1 p.m. news hour; you can also watch the videos on Food's homepage.

ALSO:

Mac 'n' cheese recipes galore!

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

-- Noelle Carter
You can find me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Continue reading »
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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.