Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Weblogs

A Twitter-ific tip from PinchMySalt: Go easy on the cookie dough

Pinchmysalt

There's some baking. Some Twittering. Some eating of chocolate cherry cookie dough. And, apparently, there's some scientific research going on over in Nicole's San Diego kitchen.

Here's a peek at her Twitter traffic (would that be Twaffic?):    

"Decided to turn this round of cookies into a contest: silpat vs. parchment vs. ungreased cookie sheet. Parchment won (just as I expected)."

"I think I ate too much cookie dough."

"Ok, maybe Silpat wins. I can't decide!"

Check out the results at her blog, PinchMySalt.

Photo credit: Nicole Hamaker / PinchMySalt

-- Rene Lynch

Rank it: What's the best L.A. Times recipe of 2008?

Cheers

What's your favorite L.A. Times recipe from 2008?

The Times food staff is mulling over its picks for the Top 10 recipes of the year, and the results will be published Dec. 31. But give us your top picks -- and we'll see how the two lists compare and contrast. (I continue to lobby heavily for this humble delight, which, like all Times recipes, has been tested and perfected before it is deemed fit for print.)

In the meantime, check out our Best of 2008 page.

We've compiled the biggest stories of the year, the most-searched topics on latimes.com, and the most jaw-dropping scandals. You'll also find blogs and columns that were the biggest traffic-getters of the year, as well as top-ranking stories, divided by category, including Food. (This much is clear: You  like rotisserie chicken.)

In addition, our photographers combed through countless food photos taken during the year, and compiled the best of the best of the best into this photo gallery.

-- Rene Lynch

Photo: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Martha Stewart on tour

Martha Martha Stewart is in town today promoting her latest book, "Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook."  Her 67th (yes, that's not a typo) book is an impressive 500+ pages -- and according to Martha, 4.4 pounds -- of recipes and techniques, with instructions on such culinary basics as how to cut up a chicken, toast spices, steam vegetables and make meringue. 

With beautiful photography (by Marcus Nilsson), handy charts (cuts of meat), lists (varieties of rice) and catalogs (useful kitchen tools), the book is both beautiful and utilitarian.  It's also remarkably unfussy: There are none of Stewart's signature bows and ribbons on this one.

Stewart paused amid her whirlwind schedule (Ryan Seacrest's radio show this morning; Jay Leno tonight) to chat over a cappuccino at the Beverly Hills Hotel, before addressing a packed room gathered for breakfast. (Stewart took pictures of the buffet before taking the podium: "For my blog!" she explained. Glad I wasn't in charge of making the scones for this one.)

Continue reading »

French Laundry cooked!

Pig2The great French Laundry experiment is over. Carol has cooked Keller. No, not the restaurant, of course. Last I heard you still have to play phone roulette exactly two months to the day before you want to eat there in hopes of snagging one of the 80 or 90 available seats. What I’m talking about is blogger Carol Blymire’s great experiment in cooking every dish from "The French Laundry Cookbook."

As anyone who has even glanced at the book knows, that’s an amazing achievement, and Blymire’s blog French Laundry at Home has captured every step of the way with wit and zeal. See Carol make veal stock; see Carol saw a pig’s head in half (see Carol explain at her neighborhood hardware store what exactly she needs a hacksaw for).

The blog is great reading. Blymire makes a suitably spunky heroine with just enough of a head-in-the-clouds/feet-on-the-ground duality to keep you on her side through even her most obsessive stages. And of these there are many. She’s clearly got something to prove with all of this cooking. One of the blog’s charms is that these culinary experiments are as much about self-actualization as they are about cooking. There’s more than a bit of Everest climbing involved. Carol cooks crazy stuff to prove to herself that she can.

There are also lessons learned along the way and selves improved. And, as almost inevitably seems to happen to those who get to know Thomas Keller (even in print), there is Kool-Aid drunk. (At this point, the standard ethical rider is inserted: Keller and coauthor Michael Ruhlman wrote a column for this paper for a couple of years that I edited and I still consider them both good friends. I, too, have tasted the magical elixir.)

But as much as I enjoyed the blog, on another level, a couple of times it gave me pause.

Continue reading »

Q & A: Cookbook authors Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford

Naomijeff_2Husband-and-wife cookbook authors Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford (at left, in Thailand) are  more peripatetic than your average food writers: Their six books have covered the cuisines of Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and most recently--with "Beyond the Great Wall"--China.  Recently, I caught up with them by phone at their home in Toronto, where they're planning a seventh book, organizing culinary tours of Thailand (where they have an apartment), and launching a new website

Q: Your new book is about Burma; why Burma?

Continue reading »

Cook that salmon!

When Jon Rowley talks about salmon, you’d better listen, even if he’s saying something you might not like. Rowley is the Seattle food marketer who “invented” the Copper River salmon, setting up the marketing program that rescued one of the truly great fish of the world from the cannery. And Thursday he published a piece on the Gourmet magazine website explaining why you should never eat raw salmon unless it has been frozen.

“Salmon tartare — eye-catching, fun, hip and tasty — has become a popular menu item in many top restaurants. Celebrity chefs prepare it on television. Mainstream magazines, newspapers, and cookbooks feature recipes. Raw salmon dishes — tartare, crudo, sushi, marinated and cured salmon—are growing in popularity. But unless that fish has been frozen first, it would be wise to pass,” he writes.

That’s because of Diphyllobothrium latum, a tiny tapeworm larva that is carried by freshwater fish. (though salmon live most of their lives in the ocean, they are born and spawn in rivers.) The only way to prevent it, Rowley writes, is to freeze the salmon at below minus-31 degrees for more than 15 hours.

Rowley’s piece comes on the heels of a Chicago man suing a restaurant for a tapeworm he claims he ingested while eating an undercooked salmon salad in 2006. That tapeworm grew to 9 feet long before it was removed. Rowley says some worms have been found that were as long as 30 feet. Though they are not fatal, they can result in anemia.

-- Russ Parsons

IPhone 3G apps

Iphone3g I have seen the future, and there is food. But I’m not sure there’s quite enough for me. Not yet anyway. Like millions of other folks, I just bought an IPhone 3G. For someone who barely learned how to dial his old cell phone, it’s quite a marvel (even if my daughter just shakes her head pityingly at half of the things I’m amazed at … that was so 2004!).

And like millions of other folks, one of the first things I did was run right over to the App Store (not literally run, of course, because with these new machines you can do it over the Interweb!). Unlike millions of others, the first things I looked for weren’t games, but anything related to food. I did find some things, but food as a topic doesn’t seem to be nearly as popular as Crash Bandicoot.

Continue reading »

Magazine feasts locally

Oneblockgarden2_2Everybody’s talking about eating locally, but Sunset magazine actually did it. The August issue features a package on a feast made almost entirely from ingredients that were actually grown on the magazine’s Palo Alto campus. For those of us who get cranky just trying to keep up with zucchini and tomatoes, it is either inspiring or humiliating.

Spearheaded by food editor Margo True, staffers raised chickens for eggs, kept bees for honey, and grew most of the fruits and vegetables themselves in the magazine’s test gardens. About the only foods that came from off-site were the olive oil (their own trees were infested with bugs), ocean water (evaporated to make salt) and wine (from grapes harvested in the nearby Santa Cruz mountains, but crushed and fermented in the magazine parking lot).

The article documenting the project is presented in the magazine’s format, which means very short stories and lots of informational break -ut boxes and color art, and there’s more available on the website. Still, the thing seems to beg for a book.

--Russ Parsons

(Photo from Sunset magazine)

About our blog

The Daily Dish...

Blog roll please . . .

Yes, yes, we know -- our blog roll up till now has been, well, kind of pathetic. Thank you to those bloggers who have taken us to task for it. You were right! So we at the L.A. Times Food section have put our heads together and compiled a much more comprehensive one. Certainly it just scratches the surface of the incredible wealth of terrific L.A.-centric food blogs. Blogs like the Delicious Life, spotlighting Sarah Gim's wonderful writing. Or Monster Munching, focusing with verve on dining and cooking in Orange County. Or Rameniac, where you'll want to go for all things ramen. (Did you know there are 22 popular ramen styles in Japan? Rameniac parses them all.)

It all starts with the beginning of our roll of L.A. food blogs (it's on the right rail; scroll down to find it). That's the place to find important must-check blogs such as Eater L.A., the Knife and more. Click on "More delicious links" and you'll find the rest of that list (we're still tweaking -- we're missing a couple of category headers), then L.A. food sites; more food blogs, such as Epi-blog (Epicurious' group blog), the Grinder (Chow's food media blog) and the Wednesday Chef. Then L.A. Food sites, including resources such as Yelp, Slow Food L.A. and the county Department of Public Health site for restaurant grades.

We hope our expanded links list will make it easy for you to find all things delicious in one spot. If we missed a blog or site you love or rely on, please let us know by posting a comment. We may be slow in getting it up (the L.A. Times has a very busy tech department!) but we'll do our best.

Whew!

-- Leslie Brenner

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