Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Grilled Lamb Salad

Oh joy! Last night, under a star filled sky (ok, that’s a lie, you can’t really see stars in Los Angeles) I lit up my much loved grill and had my first cookout of the year. It was a triumph of delicious foods and superior company. From the moment the flame hit the lump charcoal (that I had some left from last year and it wasn’t completely soggy is a testament to something, I’m just not sure what) and the blue curl of smoke lifted onto the evening breeze, I was in heaven. The inspiration for this meal, came from a motley assortment of middle eastern ingredients I had lurking in my larder, plus some gorgeous honey-dates I bought at the Farmers Market (where I will be demonstrating next Sunday! Please come down!) last week and really wanted to find the perfect way to showcase them. I had also read the other day that lamb (defined as the meat of sheep less than 12 months old) is the least popular red meat in North America (which makes me wonder, does that list include rabbit or “cheval?”) which of course fired me up to buy some. I trooped down to the market and there is was behind the glass, so rosy and pink and inexpensive and I love it so much, I ended up buying quite a bit, so don’t be surprised if there is another lamb recipe tomorrow…besides, what says springtime more than lamb? So with nothing more than a few staple ingredients and a will to grill, I concocted this recipe and must say, it was pretty durned tasty. Try it and enjoy!

2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 10 –12 strips
Zest of 1 orange
¼ cup olive oil
Black pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp za’atar

3 oranges, segemented (pits removed) and diced
½ cup dates, halved, pits removed
2 large heads butterleaf lettuce, leaves torn
1 small red onion, sliced thin

2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup non-fat yogurt or sour cream
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 Tbsp thyme, chopped
½ teaspoon white vinegar

In a shallow baking dish or a Ziploc plastic bag, combine the orange zest, olive oil, pepper, garlic and za’atar. Add the lamb and massage in the marinade. Marinate, covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or leave overnight.

Prepare your grill. Lightly oil the grates with some olive oil.

Remove the lamb from the marinade. Cook over a moderately high heat for about 5-7 minutes, turning occasionally until well browned. Set aside on a plate to rest while making the salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, yogurt, orange juice, vinegar, honey, thyme and salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Set aside.

In a large bowl gently toss together the orange segments, dates, lettuce and red onion. Season well with salt and pepper.

Serve the lamb strips over the salad on individual plates, or on a large platter, drizzle the dressing over it all.


GRILLING is the method of cooking whereby the meat is cooked over direct, intense flame, usually 500 degrees F or higher.

BARBEQUE meats are cooked slowly with indirect heat in an enclosed cooker which allows the moist smoke to penetrate the meat. BBQ temperatures range from about 170 to 250 degrees F


Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Snapper Veracruz

Recently, while in a frenzy of dusting, scrubbing and purging, I came across my notebooks from cooking school; each single subject spiral-bound covered one (two-week long) class, and includes recipes, notes, and some interesting stains. What they had in common, was that all but one (Introduction to Asian Cookery, with Rhoda Yee) contain a recipe for Snapper Veracruz. It is a lovely dish, very bright and vibrant, full of terrific colors and flavors, and it incorporates several important basic skills, but why every single chef thought we needed to master that particular dish, I can’t tell you. Thinking it might be fun to revisit, I went ahead and made it last night, and I have to say, it is a beautiful symphony of culinary techniques (chop, dice, mince, sauté, reduce and adjust. Let alone, “don’t overcook your fish.”) in what seems like a terribly simple dish. Of course, each chef had their own recipe, so I took the best ideas from all of them and came up with this. Try it and enjoy! Veracruz, by the way, is a State in Mexico…

1/2 cup unsalted butter
6 large garlic cloves, finely minced
6 scallions, sliced
1 large onion, medium dice
4 ripe, red tomatoes, chopped
3 jalapenos, tops removed but not seeded, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
¼ cup large green olives, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained and minced
½ cup dry white wine
2 1/2 pounds skinless red snapper fillets

Melt the butter over medium heat in a sauté pan large enough to hold the fish in one layer. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute , stirring constantly. Add the scallions and onion and cook 1 minute longer, stirring often. Add the tomatoes, chiles, cilantro, olives and capers and stir well to combine. Add the wine and cook, stirring often, until the sauce is reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.

Add the fish to the pan in one layer. Adjusting the heat to maintain a low simmer, cook the fish, uncovered, just until the flesh begins to turn opaque, 1 minute. Carefully turn the fish with a spatula and cook on the other side for about 1 minute more; the flesh should still be slightly undercooked. Remove from the head and allow the fish to cool in the sauce. Serve with a wedge of lime.

Serves six


"Burger King began offering two new breakfast sandwiches Monday, including one that packs more calories and fat than a Whopper. The Enormous Omelet Sandwich carries 730 calories and 47 grams of fat and comes with two eggs, sausage, three strips of bacon and two slices of melted American cheese on a bun. It's heftier than a Whopper hamburger, which weighs in at 700 calories and 42 grams of fat"

"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are"- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Monday, March 28, 2005


Spinach and Herb Frittata

I may sound a little over the top here, maybe even a touch gushy, but I need to wax on for a few moments on my extraordinaire birthday and how my friends and family made it the best of my life. The most important person to thank is Ms. LaRue, (who is a Goddess) because she went above and beyond, making a brunch that was so divine, so inspired, so decadent (there were at least 6 desserts and who knows how many bottles of French Champagne) that it made me just about as happy as a girl can get. The food, the company, the music, the weather (because I’m sure she had a lot to do with that), the fantastically thoughtful gifts, just everything, made me (again) count my blessings and grin like a fool. The one thing that was NOT on the menu (due entirely to me) was a frittata, which was supposed to be there, but somehow got dropped. So my sweet Ms. LaRue, here is that recipe, for you.

2 teaspoons sweet butter
12 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (1 tablespoon reserved)
¼ cup minced fresh herbs (I use parsley, thyme, basil and a little bit of rosemary. Or if you have pre-made pesto, use that)
Salt and Pepper
1 cup grated cheese (I always just use what is around. Gruyere, Gouda, Fontina and Jack all work perfectly)
¼ cup goat cheese (optional)
¼ cup chopped spinach

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

If you have a 8x12, shallow, rectangular pan this is a great time to use it, otherwise, a large (12 inch) non-stick, oven proof skillet will work perfectly.

Melt the butter in the skillet (or roasting pan) over a medium flame.

In a blender (do this in two batches) combine eggs, cream, parmesan cheese, herbs, salt and pepper. Whip until really frothy. Add the grated cheese (do not blend again) and pour into your prepared pan.

Dot the mixture with the goat cheese and spinach. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the mixture. Because it is so frothy the spinach and goat cheese actually won’t sink in.

Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until just set.

Turn on the broiler and let get a touch golden (should take about 2 more minutes)

Remove and serve.

Makes enough for 6-8 people. Can be served hot or room temperature.


A frittata is an Italian style omelet that has the ingredients mixed in with the eggs and is baked in the oven.

The name 'Aunt Jemima' came from a song in a vaudville show. When R.T. Davis (owner of the company) debuted his new pancake mix he hired Nancy Green to cook & serve pancakes at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Nancy Green and the pancake mix were both big hits at the fair, and Green was awarded a medal and proclaimed 'Pancake Queen' by fair officials. R.T. Davis signed her to a lifetime contract.

It takes 12 minutes to hard boil a large egg at sea level


Orange Juice

Last night I took a long drive (made shorter by the company of the best friend a girl could have…Claire) to John Wayne Airport in Orange County to pick up sweet Colin. Some of you may think of that silly TV show when I mention Orange County, but to me it conjures only one image (ok two, but I ignore Disneyland as best I can)…Orange Groves. True, by the time I was born, most of the groves had already been turned into quickie housing developments, (as they had been here too) but somehow in my mind, when you say Orange County, I can almost smell the fragrant blossoms in the air. It brings me back to a time when my we would go visit my Grandfather and every morning he would squeeze an entire pitchers worth while the coffee brewed and our family would gather around his big kitchen table to start the day. I may be sentimental, but a tall glass of fresh squeezed juice is my idea of heaven.

Looking back through the recipes on this site, I notice a huge percentage have oranges as a main ingredient, which doesn’t surprise me at all, but I never included directions for the simplest of orange recipes, orange juice. This is more tips than anything else, but I do hope you will go out and get some juicy oranges, and squeeze your own glass of California sunshine.

Six medium sized juicing oranges, chilled (I used organic sweet Texas oranges from Whole Foods)

Roll the oranges on the counter top to loosen up the juice
Squeeze (I use a Krups citrus juicer)
Chill up to 20 minutes


Orange: Any of several southeast Asian evergreen trees of the genus Citrus, widely cultivated in warm regions and having fragrant white flowers and round fruit with a yellowish or reddish rind and a sectioned, pulpy interior, especially C. sinensis, the sweet orange, and C. aurantium, the Seville or sour orange.

The word orange comes from a transliteration of the Sanskrit naranga, which comes from the Tamil naru, which means fragrant

In 1873 three navel orange trees were brought from Brazil and planted in Riverside, California. The trees started producing fruit in 1878. Today, one of the three original trees is still alive and producing fruit!

There are more than a thousand varieties of oranges, including Joppa, Valencia, Texas Sweet, Baker Sweet, Maltaise Blood Orange, Moro, Washington Navel and many, many, more.


Orange Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Cuban Mojo Marinade

Sometimes (always at the most inopportune times) I get very shy. It must come from having grown up in a town that is fueled by self-aggrandizing, but when it comes to talking to people I don't know about food, I tend to focus more on blushing madly than joining in or even being remotely conversational. Can you believe? So silly. (Not when I am working mind you! Then I am in my element and therefore all kinds of in control)

Which is why, when I go into my favorite bookstore, The Cooks Library, all I can manage to do is smile politely, grab some books and run. Pity really, since it is such a warm, cozy (insert word that evokes your grandmothers parlor and some hot tea) place with food obsessive clerks (is clerk a politically correct term? Is it better to say sales associate?), patrons and vendors. Overall, it is a dream spot. Thousands of cookbooks, right there for the reading or buying and like minded people to chat the day away with. I go in about once a month, sometimes with only the intention of copying a recipe or two down, (which they seem to be ok with) but have yet to depart without a newly coveted book. While it is my goal to muster the courage (why this takes courage I have no idea.) to actually talk to the people (I did once send a nice thank you note once for getting a special order book for me, being obsessed with thank-you-note-sending and all, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count) for now, I will remain a loyal customer, and encourage you to visit if you are in L.A. It is a cookbook lovers dream, and there is free parking in back.

Last time I popped in, they spent quite a bit of time trying to locate a copy of Get Saucy by Grace Parisi (Harvard Common Press, 2005) that I thought might be inspirational. Without launching into a review of the book, I will say I find it delightful and full of interesting sounding recipes. This is the only one I have made so far, but I loved it. (Reprinted without any permission from anyone.) Try it and enjoy! (Notes in parenthesis are my own.)

The Cooks Library is located at 8373 West 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

¼ cup vegetable oil
1 medium sized onion, sliced paper thin
4 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 scallions, sliced thin
1 large jalapeno, (you guessed it) sliced thin. Leave in seeds
1 cup orange juice (the more sour the juice, the better)
½ cup lime juice

In a medium sized sauce pan, heat the oil over medium-low heat until shimmering. (OOH, I like that. Shimmering.)

Add the onion, garlic, scallions and jalapenos until just barely softened, stirring a few times, about four minutes. Add the orange juice and lime juice, season with salt and simmer for 1 minute.

Cool completely before adding chicken, pork or fish you want to roast or grill. Because it is so acidic, do not marinate more than 1 hour.


“The Orlando, Fla.-based restaurant chain Hooters recently issued $125 million in secured bonds. Moody's Investors Service ratings agency assigned a B3 rating to the notes, a "junk" or below investment grade rating.” Excerpt from

Elsewhere: “The retailer Willams-Sonoma
said yesterday that fourth-quarter profit rose slightly as cost controls overcame disappointing sales growth. Earnings for the quarter, which ended Jan. 30, rose to $102.6 million, or 86 cents a share, from $102.1 million, or 85 cents a share, a year earlier. A change in accounting for store leases cut profit by 9 cents a share. Revenue rose to $1.08 billion, from $1 billion. That was below expectations of the company, which owns Pottery Barn, Hold Everything and Williams-Sonoma stores." Reuters


The Cooks Library Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Yogurt and Chile Broiled Chicken

I know, I know, I talk a lot about how every time I see a new kitchen, I want to move in, but last night…oh kids, last night topped them all.

I saw the kitchen to end all kitchens. It was, for lack of a better expression: rock-star. All black concrete and red art and chrome and (a darling housekeeper polishing up the fingerprints) just all sorts of cool.

A friend and his wife (Who is a model, but eats. That rocks) got in touch because they want to had been hoping I could teach them to make some super quick, super easy dishes.

I sincerely think they are my new favorite people of all time. (Then again, I say that a lot) Chic, fun and into food. My dream!

We actually made a salad that serves four, and he brought out exactly the same ingredients from his own fridge to triple it. It just sort of melted my little heart. We also made this chicken dish, based on tandoori. Try it and you will be flabbergasted (wait, is that a good thing?) at how simple and divine it is. Honestly, we barely even marinated it, and it still came out perfectly juicy and flavorful. The yogurt ideally tenderizes the chicken, but without marinating, it just adds flavor. Enjoy!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded thin
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon ground chili powder (Not the spice mix. Dried, ground chiles)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon garlic, crushed
2/3 cup plain non-fat yogurt

Rinse chicken, pat dry with paper towels.

Using mallet or rolling pin, pound chicken lightly between sheets of waxed paper to even 1/2-inch thickness

Put into a shallow non-reactive dish or a large zip-lock bag and add the yogurt, garlic, chile powder, coriander, salt and lime juice and turn to coat completely in marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat your broiler. (Well, turn it on anway. They don't really need to preheat)

Remove the chicken from the marinade and put into a pyrex dish (or something broiler-proof) that has been lined with tin-foil.

Broil 3-4 inches from the flame until it is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn chicken over and broil until cooked through but still juicy, about 3 minutes longer. Remove and serve.

Eating an excessive amount of carrots can actually turn your skin yellow
An ounce of popcorn has six times more fiber than an ounce of cooked broccoli

Cucumbers can grow more than 20 inches long

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Monday, March 21, 2005


Pacé Restaurant

The hip, the trendy, the chic, the fabulous, my friend and I all have one thing in common. We all wanted to go to the same restaurant this past Saturday night, a new little spot called Beechwood (which, interestingly is not in Beechwood Canyon, or on Beechwood Blvd. But in Venice, about 10 miles from there. My guess is that the interior is decorated with a Beechwood bar? Who knows.) that has been getting rave reviews.

So, like the overly optimistic girl I can be, I called up at 3:30 that day to see if two of us could get in that night. What happened? Well, of course, I was shot down. But not by a person. No. I was shot down by the website site called OpenTable that I had been directed to. Have you heard of this? It is basically an online reservation system that can reject you with having to bother a hostess. Leaving aside the fact that having online reservation system only is mildly elitist, it is in fact a fantastic idea. (But I thought you said you were shot down?) Instead of getting in to the spot I wanted, it directed me to a abso-fana-glori-tastic place I had never given any thought to. Pacé on Laurel Canyon Blvd. Brought to us by my new favorite person, Head Chef and Owner Sandy Gendel Not only is it less than 2 miles from my house, but it is just a gem of a spot, in a slightly rustic (by LA standards) area. They are located underneath a canyon grocery store (think hippies with lots of money) and is small, bustling, romantic and comfortable. The menu uses only organic ingredients and leans towards Italian.

Even though we got there 15 minutes early a hostess who was absolutely charming immediately seated us. A basket of best bread I have had in ages was brought, along with a pureed red pepper spread (SO good) and a small bowl of almonds and large dry cured black olives. Water was brought, and we ordered a bottle of Pellegrino just for laughs. (Bubbles. Hee hee) We also ordered a Piedmont wine, but honestly, I forget what it was. It was from a terrific and varied list, but the boy was in charge of that, so I just sat back and enjoyed.

We started with the Minestrone soup, ($5.75) They brought it without spoons, which was almost instantly remedied by three different people. It was piping hot, and full to the brim with perfectly cooked vegetables. The broth was light and perfectly seasoned.

Next up, the Pollo Affumicato ($13.50) Described as "home smoked chicken breast on a bed of grilled leeks and artichoke" and it was sublime. There was quite a bit of chicken, beautifully presented on a bed of grilled vegetables that were meltingly good and cooked to perfection. I was overwhelmed.

For our entrees (can you believe two people ate this much? We actually took a lot home.) we split The Wheeler Plate“ Flank steak rolled with various coldcuts, arugula, provolone and basil, grilled and served choice of two sides” ($18.00) Sides were almost as hard to choose as entrees (the waitress had to come by four times before we were able to commit. She had also read us at least 6 specials, which didn’t help our indecision.) but from a list of 12 fantastic sounding additions we opted for sauteed Italian kale and asparagus. Both of which were a revelation. The flank steak itself was out of this world. It was stuffed with mortadella and soppressata, just the right balance of herbs and cooked by someone who understands tough cuts. Sublime.

As a seriously over the top decision we ALSO had the Mystic Pie ($15.00) Wild mushrooms, (See entree below about Wild Mushrooms. Sigh) tomato sauce, garlic and parsley. That all sounds simple, but is in fact the most supremely amazing pizza I have ever taken a bite of. Ever. It is made on cibatta bread, which is light and airy and outstandingly good. I was blown away. Being cibatta, it is an oblong shape, making 8 small irregular slices. The mushrooms burst with flavor and the garlic was very obviously present (I love my garlic.)

Needless to say, we were unable to have dessert. Choices which included banana-bread pudding and a chocolate souffle. Oh well. Next time for sure.

Overall, I am madly in love with this place and will be back.

Prices: Very reasonable
Décor: Lovely
Noise Level: High
Patrons: Eclectic mix of Hollywood hipsters and soccer moms
Service: Top notch
Food: Simply divine

2100 Laurel Canyon Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 323-654-8583.

Reservations can be made online at OpenTable.


Sopressata is salami made from cured-dry pork and flavored with and black peppercorns.

Mortadella is a very large smoked sausage (usually pork) studded with cubes of pork fat.

Mortadella probably dates back to the 15th century, and the original recipes included myrtle,
'mortella' in Italian, hence the name.


Sunday, March 20, 2005


Wild Mushrooms

Excerpt from the Los Angeles Times. Reprinted without any permission. I am just including this because I think it is INSANE!

By Corie Brown Times Staff Writer March 16, 2005

Although they are known to be elusive, it was a surprise when wild mushrooms recently disappeared from farmers markets throughout Los Angeles County. On Feb. 2, the vendor at the Santa Monica and Hollywood markets, David West, was shut down by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

No reports of anyone getting sick from mushrooms preceded the county's action. In fact, there has never been a report from any state or local health organization of anyone in the United States becoming ill from wild mushrooms purchased in a store or farmers market or eaten in a restaurant.So why the sudden shutdown? Why just at farmers markets? And is a ban at restaurants and supermarkets to follow?

Terrance Powell, the environmental ombudsman with the county health department, says he only recently learned, through his inspectors at the farmers markets, that wild mushrooms, indeed, do grow wild. By definition, they are foraged from forest floors, not cultivated on farms.There is a dangerous gap in the regulations, Powell says, and that worries him. "Should we wait to have people get sick? Our job is to be proactive…. Consumers rely on food being safe."

Stepping in where no California regulator has gone before, Powell plans to issue new product identification and source disclosure regulations governing the sale of wild mushrooms across Los Angeles, including distributors, wholesalers, retailers and restaurants. If Powell has his way, before consumers take their first bites of this spring's fresh morels, they will know exactly where each wild mushroom grew, who identified it as a morel, and that person's qualification for the job of mushroom identifier.

A "buyer beware" notice will be posted at points of sale to warn consumers that the mushroom grew on land that is not regulated by the Department of Agriculture or Health Services "and therefore was subject to conditions that may potentially contaminate, adulterate, or otherwise render the product unfit for human consumption."

True, the health risk is strictly theoretical, Powell says, but throughout the years, several amateur wild mushrooms foragers have gotten sick and some have died. Powell believes it is just a matter of time before a commercial forager makes the amateur's mistake. He's acting now, he says, to forestall disaster.

If they abide by the new rules, the farmers market vendors may resume sales immediately, Powell says, which would be good news for consumers.

"It's not easy being first, but I feel extremely justified in looking at this," Powell says.The urge to regulate happens frequently when officials first discover the peculiarities of wild mushrooms, says Dave Bengston, Mendocino County agriculture commissioner. And just as predictably as they try to regulate them, he says, they drop the idea. "In my mind, mushrooms are like any other fruit or vegetable, common things we eat all the time that, treated improperly, are poisonous," Bengston says. "Fix rhubarb wrong, it's the same thing. And you don't see a lot of people panicking over rhubarb."

Mendocino County hasn't regulated its foragers, Bengston says. As for Los Angeles County, Powell doesn't care what has happened elsewhere; as far as he is concerned, his new interim rules should stand as law until the state decides whether to act. And what does the state say? "We don't know what the county is doing," says Robert Miller, spokesman for the California Department of Health Services.

To date, Powell has not notified the state of his new regulations.According to Miller, the state would like to see a requirement that foragers go through a training and licensing program. But because wild mushroom commerce crosses state lines, he says, "we're waiting for the federal government to act."Meanwhile, as gourmands eagerly await the arrival of morel season, tracking down wild mushrooms in Los Angeles is likely to be a mind bender.


Did you know that the "Blogger Search" box at the top of this page actually searches this site?
So next time you are longing for my Bean Sprout Salad recipe or want to know what cheeses I recommend, just type it in and see what happens. Until I figure out a better archiving system, it will do!

Friday, March 18, 2005


Bad Food Photography

Bad food photography. It's out there kids, and it aint pretty. (Nor is it appetizing!) Tell the many times have you whipped out your camera at some chic and fab restaurant to capture the moment, then only to realize the shot was terrible, therefore compelling you to take three or four more while your dining companions patiently hold their water glasses off the table and their comments to themselves? Or maybe you have just struggled to hold the bowl and whisk while pouring the batter and taking a picture all at the same time only to have it come out looking less than delectable. I myself am guilty of taking (and posting) some pretty dreadful shots of food that while in reality was sensationally beautiful and/or just plain yummy, or I somehow THOUGHT was interesting, but upon later review it turns out my art direction, or flash or beer goggles (hey, it happens!) or judgement in general were just plain off. And yet, I still have those shots, cluttering up my computer and mocking me every time I open Picasa.

So tell me dear reader, are you guilty too? Have you too taken shot after shot of grey cabbage and overexposed pork chops or am I alone in this? Share with me, and purge yourself! If we all work together, we can overcome bad food photography and the world will be a better place.

Below, for your pleasure, is my personal hall of shame. Terrible shots of glorious food. (Or in the case of the can of Tab, just an odd choice of things to snap.) Please enjoy and have a great day!


There are about 7,500 varieties of apples cultivated around the world
A serving of dried apricots has almost five times more calories than a fresh one

Florida avocados have half the fat of California avocados


When Bad Photography Happens To Good Food Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 17, 2005


Guinness Shandy

Oh my goodness. With all of my thoughts on Indian food, (see below) I completely forgot today is St. Patricks day! Have a happy day and if you are imbibing please do so responsibly! Myself, I am off to Molly O'Shannons for their famous liquid breakfast. For you my sweets, here is a quicky recipe for a Guinness Shandy.

1/2 pint Guinness stout
1/2 pint Lemonade

Mix lemonade with Guinness and serve in a pint glass.

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill can hold more than his belican.
He can take I his beakFood enough for a week;
But I'm damned if I see how the helican.


Spicy Mango Pickle

Last month I traveled around England with sweet Colin to observe him in his native habitat. The trip was outstanding and full of many wonderful surprises, including the staggering changes in the quality of the food since my last extended stay, which was early in the 90’s. I am happy to report that eating out almost everywhere we went, was a true pleasure. (The fanatsic company only adding to the experience.) The one thing that hadn’t changed of course was the outrageously good Indian food. The one fully Indian meal we had (in the Acocks Green suburb of Birmingham, of all places) was best I had had in ages.

Naturally, this lead me to attempt to decipher what is Southern Indian versus Northern, Bengali versus Punjabi food and many, many other questions. With a little research I learned (ha ha!) that there is much more to Indian cuisine than my little mind can absorb. (Flash back to a college course on World Philosophies that ended up being 90% about Hinduism because it is so complex, leaving very little time to cover any others.)

Since the Indian subcontinent is larger in mass than Europe (excluding Russia), has always been a cultural crossroads and has culinary restrictions based on religious and cultural demands, it is a very tricky area to boil down to a few interesting culinary tidbits. What I did learn is that Indian cuisine is truly as diverse as it's people and geography. Since you are most likely not here to read a dissertation on the subtle (and not so subtle) differences in regional cuisine, I will distill what I have learned to this: There are seven major culinary regions, (within 25 States) Bengali, Punjabi, Goan, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Marathi and South Indian and 14 recognized “schools” of cooking. (And to think, my only Indian cuisine cookbook is spectacular, but strictly vegetarian Lord Krisna’s Cuisine. Imagine all the great dishes I have been missing!) Obviously that is just the tip of the iceberg, since

In the interest of keeping this short (oh wait, too late) I will focus on three (large) regions: Southern, Eastern and Northwestern, since these are most commonly represented in Western restaurants. I realize this is terribly simplified, and am sorry about that, but want to keep this short enough that you will keep reading. For much more information, I recommend a visit to India Foods Online. I will revisit this topic in the future as I do love Indian food, and somehow think it is important to grasp the complexities.

-- The Northwestern province of Punjab is home to what most Westerners are served as Indian food. Though a tiny region, their influence has been great. Dishes include Tandoori Chicken, Naan, Alu Tikki, Chapatti and Parathas (stuffed chapatti), the preferred cooking oil is ghee (a clarified butter) which is used along with a lot of other dairy products, including lassi (the buttermilk drink) paneer (cheese) and yogurt.

-- Food from the South would be more towards what we would call tropical, including tamarind, coconut milk and grated coconut as a garnish, breads made of dal, (lentils), and most importantly fish. This is the region where coffee is grown too. Basmati rice is the staple food for the people of South India instead of wheat, which is more popular in the North. This region is primarily vegetarian, so meat dishes will be rare, if found at all.

-- In Eastern Indian (Bengali) cuisine, fish again is a staple food, and the main cooking oil is mustard oil. Though actually Northeastern, Bengali’s eat rice. This region is also home to many of the most famous Indian sweets.

I hope that helps just a little bit in your understanding, it certainly inspired me!

Phew. Now, here is my recipe for kasu mango. It is basically a spicy mango pickle. In Los Angeles I am able to buy mango vathal (cured and salted mango slices) and asafoetida at any number of stores. If you cannot, just use a super ripe mango and substitute turmeric for the asafoetida. The results are sweet and sour and puckery and hot. Serve this with rice and dal (cooked lentils) and enjoy!

1 cup mango vathal
4 teaspoons mustard oil (or, if you cant find that, use vegetable or peanut oil)
1/3 cup, yellow or black mustard seeds
3 tablespoons, red chili powder (not the mix for Chile Con Carne. Just pure chiles ground to powder)
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek powder
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida powder
Boiling water

Pour 1/4 cup boiling water over the mango vathal and soak for 1/2 hour. In a large sauce pan heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over high heat then add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the fenugreek powder, asafoetida, chili powder and the remaining oil. Heat through (about 1 minute) then add the mango pieces and stir. Let cook for about 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Allow to cool, then store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Chicken tikka masala is the all time most popular dish in Indian restaurants

Vindaloo is a dish of Portuguese origin that was created when they colonized Goa

Balti is a style of cooking. The word balti translates to "bucket"

Rogan Josh is part of the 24 course Kashmiri banquet known as a Wazan

There are 24 Zagat rated Indian restaurants in the greater L.A. area

Driving for 30 minutes around town, I counted 17 (only two of which were in Zagats)

My favorite North Indian restaurant is Nawab of India in Santa Monica

Wednesday, March 16, 2005



Today I just have to gush because I had the most AMAZING night last night! Absolutely the best. I went with my most chic and fabulous friend/worlds sexiest jewelry maker to the opening party for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (I AM a girl who loves her fashion, but since this is a food blog, I will try to keep that part short) at the incredible HD Buttercup building, formerly the Helms Bakery, in Culver City. (Note the food tie in? I’m good, eh?) Now, among the highlights of the evening, I saw one of my favorite super models of all time, heard the spectacular Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’s play and got to get tipsy on the fantastically interesting product called X-Rated Fusion Liqueur. Which, let’s face it, is not only a bad name for vodka, but makes doing an internet search for it very tricky. According to the bottle, it is “a fusion of ultra-premium French vodka, Provence blood oranges, mango and passion fruits.” In other words, it is very sweet and an eye-popping shade of pink. (And if you ask me, a hangover waiting to happen.) Now, if you are a fan of the fruity afternoon cocktail, this stuff is a dream come true. It's light and has a sweetness to it that is reminiscent of guava nectar and is incredibly easy to drink. We tried it three ways (all in the name of research!) with 7-UP, mixed with straight vodka and orange juice, and on the rocks. (They were also offering it as a Cosmo, but since it isn’t 2002 anymore, no one was drinking it that way.) My friend and I decided (after one sip) that it is just a little too cloying for our tastes (she drinks scotch normally, I stick with martinis for the most part) but was a good mixer and, lets face it, a cute gimmick. On the other hand, they donated a lot of their product to an event raising money for cancer research, so I say go out an buy a bottle for $30 and support a company that supports a good cause. Cheers!


1 part X-Rated
1 part tequila
2 parts sweet and sour mix
limes and salt

Mix all and serve over ice. Repeat as needed.

Now that I have used the term X-Rated, I wonder who will be visiting my site!

Here are some other interesting web searches that will bring up a link to my blog:

Does non-reactive food mean food not stick inside the pan?
Fresh thyme versus dried thyme measurements
Grapple information
Lyrics for I Can Cook Too

How to butcher a rabbit
Tips for keeping your salad fresh after you open it
Argentinean dried industrial prunes
Curried cucumbers
Buttermilk dairy products in Los Angeles, CA

Ralphs Market recipes


X-Rated Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Caesar Salad

"Beware the ides of March." That is what Julius Caesar was told. Had he listened he would still be with us today…oh wait, no, he would have died anyway. Today is March 15th (the Ides of March) and yet another glorious day here in sunny Los Angeles. No wind, no rain, just bright sunshine and smiling faces.

So, with the Ides and the chamber of commerce weather, I am inspired to make a Caesar salad - which, of course, has nothing to do with the Roman dictator – and everything to do with an Italian (ah, see the connection? Roman/Italian?) man named Caesar Cardini who in 1924 created the salad at his restaurant in Tijuana Mexico, one time playground of the rich and unable to drink of Southern California. (You see, during prohibition, Angelenos used to go to Mexico to tie one on. It’s about a three-hour drive nowadays. Can you imagine how long it took before they built the freeways? Now that's my idea of dedication!)

Well, enough of my little history lesson…here is my Caesar salad recipe. Classic and without frills. Let the food trendists add all the grilled chicken and ancho chilies and gouda cheese they like, I’ll stick with this simple, elegant version. I left out the croutons, but if you are really interested, go on and add um. Try it, and enjoy!

2 anchovies, rinsed, filleted and chopped
1 clove garlic
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup best quality olive oil
Juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 fresh eggs, well beaten (I use uncooked eggs. If you are concerned about using them do not make this recipe.)
2 hearts of romaine lettuce, whole

Combine the anchovies and the garlic in a large bowl. Add some salt and pepper the lemon juice and olive oil. Whisk in the cheese and eggs to form a temporary emulsion.

Toss the leaves with the dressing and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Divide leaves onto chilled salad plates. Top with a little more cheese, and some more pepper.

Serves four


Emulsion: A mixture of one liquid with another with which it cannot normally combine smoothly — oil and water being the classic example. Emulsified mixtures are usually thick and satiny in texture. – From

Overheard while in Whole Foods Market, West Hollywood: Little, bottle-blond ingénue actress to unknown female companion “We should eat a salad, they are so healthy.” (She proceeds to begin making a salad at the salad bar) “Ew. See those? Those are Hearts of palm. They are disgusting, don’t try them. I had them once. The come from a can.”

Was there a Monterey Jack? Yes. The cheese was first made in Monterey, California and named for 19th century California land owner David Jacks.

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Monday, March 14, 2005


Mussels with Prosciutto and Sherry


I went this past weekend with my most adorable friend/partner in crime, The Ombudsman, on a long and strange field trip in search of desert wild flowers. Early in the day, thanks to his eagle eye spotting of a road side sign, we stopped at one of the last wineries in Los Angeles, the family owned Joseph Filippi. They are located off the beautiful (that's a joke) Golden State (5) Freeway in Rancho Cucamonga, and have been growing grapes there (quite impressively, considering the value of the land) for the last 81 years.

The gorgeous building where they sell wine and have tastings (and lots of great events) is more than 100 years old and is worth the trip itself. For five dollars they offer a five glass wine tasting, (and you keep the etched wine glass) of any of the 26 wines they make. While some were less than stellar (the 2002 Sangiovese. Yikes.) some were absolutely a dream. The woman who poured the wine was incredibly sweet and knowledgeable answering all of our questions and making terrific suggestions. (And she pours with a heavy hand! Whoo-hoo!) We particularly enjoyed the 2002 Zinfindel, ($15) which had a medium body and aromas of dark berries and spice, and was fully drinkable. The winery is also well known for their Sherry and we loved the Oloroso, ($24) which was a deep amber color, rich and nutty but very smooth and dry. A winner indeed.

The wines that they make are apparently available from the Wine Club of Orange County, but 85% of their bottles are sold directly to restaurants. So if you see J. Filippi listed next time you are out, I suggest ordering a bottle. They make lovely wine, and I am always in favor of supporting small, family owned businesses.

Searching through my recipes, I noticed Sherry is hardly ever used in recipes other than for desserts. This is one way to use it in a savory dish. Enjoy!

2 lbs mussels, cleaned
3 teaspoons best quality olive oil
½ brown onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
5 thin slices prosciutto, diced (or if you have access to it use, Spanish jambon)
¾ cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons sherry

Over medium high heat, in a large pot with a lid, cook the onion (uncovered) and celery in the oil until the onions are soft (about three minutes). Add the prosciutto, wine and sherry and bring to the boil. Add the mussels and cover. Let boil for one minute, shaking the pan once or twice to distribute the mussels, then when all the mussels have opened (discard any which don’t open) remove and serve.

Serves four


A wine barrel maker is called a Coopersmith
Sherry is a wine which has been fortified with brandy
The primary grape used in making sherry wine is the Palomino fino grape

Saturday, March 12, 2005


Geisha House

Food, Celebrities, Money and Public Relations, all sort of end up in a sticky pudding sometimes…take for instance the “celebrity restaurant.” There are many celebrities (read: People with money who’s names attached to something attracts press/patrons) who invest in restaurants for a variety of reasons, (free food, cool place to hang out, etc) including just plain making an investment. (Wait! You mean to tell me people with money use it to make MORE money? What a fantastic concept!) What boggles my simple little mind is – as it is even when a celebrity ISN’T involved, - how bad some of these spots can be and yet the celebs still stay attached. (And props to Justin Timberlake for Kitana and Chi for being quite good, btw)

For instance, before popping upstairs to my friends huge, raging, all-kindsa-Hollywood par-TAY (celebs were in full effect, which was funny considering…well, I wont get too gossipy) in the private Moon Room (the roof retracts) at The Geisha House a few nights ago we decided to have a bite to eat (hey, when you are out to party serious it is a good idea to make sure there are some carbs in your tum, am I right?), which turned out to be a terrible, terrible mistake. First off, you should be warned that unless you drive an 88 Toyota Tercel, your car is not safe in that neighborhood, so you absolutely have to valet. But alas, the valet was full. I’m not going to tell you what sort of car I drive, but I certainly wasn’t about to let it sit out on Hollywood Blvd all night. Boyfriend actually thought a bribe might work, and shock of shocks, for $20, they managed to find another spot (On the street, I’m sure) So, fine, whatever. Not an auspicious start, but nothing we could do.

We go in and it is dim (good) and funky (good) and loud. We are told our table isn’t ready, so we sidle up and order some weak and overpriced cocktails at the bar. Literally the second the transaction is complete we are told our table IS ready and are escorted over (to, I admit, a pretty great location). We sit down and admire the ultra fab atmosphere. After about 20 minutes we are finally greeted by our floppy-haired waiter-actor who was easily pushing 27 but behaved like he was still gunning for pre-teen roles. He chatted mercilessly about his “lady friend”, and mispronounced the name of the $10 bottle of Welsh water he was shilling (which the boyfriend ever so politely corrected him on – to save him from further humiliation – FOUR times. Not that he paid attention.) and then forgot to take our order before flitting off. When he magically appeared 18 minutes later (luckily, my buzz was on, but I still noted how long it took. The boyfriend, being magically patient was non-plussed) When we did give our order, I swear the waiter-actor jumped up and down with glee. It was beyond bizarre.

Exactly 7 minutes later our food arrived. Wow. That’s mighty fast! Yes, yes it is, but it wasn’t just our appetizers that showed up, it was EVERYTHING. Edamame, tempura, miso, sushi, salad, entrees, everything. SPLAT, right onto the tiny table. Hot, cold, you name it, it was all there. Had we ordered dessert, I’m sure it would have shown up too. Not so good in my book.

Now, as for the food itself, here is the breakdown. Edamame had no salt and there was none on the table. The waiter never showed up again, so it wasn’t an option to get some either. Since I have a thing about salt - I love it - I missed it. The salad was absolutely too bitter to eat and there was no dressing on it. Not a drop. Fine whatever, I’m over it. But then the miso was cold. Not tepid, not lukewarm – COLD, and had no tofu or green onion as advertised. Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura? Oddly lacking any sort of discernible batter, yet greasy, and the asparagus was uncooked. The rice surrounding the maki rolls on the other hand was overcooked and smushed into an unappetizing paste, (and there was no nori, just that rice paper, which is fine, but should have been noted on the menu), the yellowtail was bizarrely slimy, the Mongolian Lamb Chop was sickly sweet, the Hamachi tasted like bell peppers and the black cod which came without the vegetable and starch mentioned on the menu was the lone item that actually tasted fantastic. Can you IMAGINE? What a DISATSTER this joint is! I was willing to overlook one or two problems, it being a new-ish restaurant, and let’s face it, not really about the food, but this was beyond acceptable. Our urge to leave combined with the noise level (deafening) would have made it impossible to complain, so we just paid and ran upstairs.

The upshot is that like most of Hollywood, this place is all flash, zero substance. Had we not ended up at the party with enough free alcohol to balance out the cost, (which was pretty much average, thankfully. Actually much less than it would have cost to go to a real Japanese place) I may have bothered someone with my concerns, but I didn’t (the boyfriend sort of frowns on that sort of thing anyway. Seems to be part of being British.) I will just have to make sure never to set foot near that flashy place again…unless there is another guest list only party and my name is on it.


Two-thirds of American adults are overweight, having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more, or obese, with a BMI of 30 or more.

Celebrity Owned Restaurants I can think of:
AGO – Robert DiNiro and Christopher Walken
Backstage Café – Sting (ok, not really. I think his brother owns it actually. Who cares though, its terrible)
Chi and Kitana – Justin Timberlake
Geisha House and Dolce – Ashton Kutcher (among other That 70’s Show cast members) and Jamie Kennedy (who I have inexplicably developed a crush on recently.)
Hollywood Fries – Danny Glover
House of Blues – Dan Akroyd
Kenny Rogers Roasters – Kenny Rogers
La Boca del Conga Room – Jimmy Smits, Sheila E, Paul Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez
Madres – Jennifer Lopez
Mulberry Street Pizza – Catherine Moriarity (who gets points for actually WORKING there)
The Clubhouse – Kevin CostnerThe Cutting Room (NYC) – Chris Noth


Friday, March 11, 2005


Orange-Chile Roasted Asparagus

Spring is finally here, and I for one and beyond excited. I wore a skirt and sandals yesterday and it was divine. My favorite flowers are in bloom and love is in the air. At the farmers market, strawberries are bursting with flavor and asparagus is finally thin and inexpensive. In these last few chilly nights I like to make this recipe for roasted asparagus. They come out a little blackened, but amazingly sweet and full of flavor. Try it and you will be converted. Enjoy!

1/4 cup olive oil
zest of one orange
large pinch of red chile flakes
2 pounds, thin asparagus, trimmed (hold each stalk gently with two hands and let snap. discard the woody end)
Coarse salt

Preheat your oven to 400F.

Meanwhile, in a small pan, gently heat the oil, zest and pepper flakes until you can just smell the orange, (about 3 minutes) then remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. (This can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.)

Toss the asparagus in about 2 tablespoons of the oil. Arrange in a single layer in a baking dish and sprinkle with coarse salt. Roast for 12-15 minutes, turning once, until the asparagus is darkened. Remove and serve immediately.

Serves six


Britain took 428 sauces, soaps and frozen meals off the shelves last month -- the biggest recall in UK history --because a banned dye called Sudan 1 was found in a batch of chili powder used to make Worcestershire sauce. But that didn't please the country of the same name. Ambassador Hassan Abdin told Reuters his embassy hadwritten to the Food Standards Agency asking for an explanation. "There must be an explanation. They are using it. You can'tjust use a name without knowing what it means." A Food Standards Agency spokeswoman said she was trying to find out exactly how the chemical, which is used as a medical dye but is considered unfit for human consumption in food, got its name. It appears to have been called Sudan 1 since it was discovered by a scientist named Daddi in 1896. "We weren't around in 1896. So we weren't responsible for naming it," she said.

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Thursday, March 10, 2005


Randy's Donuts

My favorite boy needed a ride to the airport this morning at a particularly unholy hour. I don't know if it was the fact I was watching the sun rise, the extreme levels of caffeine in my system or what, but on the way home I suddenly had a craving for donuts. (Roadside advertising DOES work!) Not just any donuts mind you -- the world famous Randy’s donuts. (Who, by the way, have a webcam, if you are so interested ) Like many a reviewer has noted, Randy’s is hard to pass by for many reasons, including the fact it is right near the airport freeway exit, but the kitch factor also looms large (if only for having a really big sign that was built in 1953. See picture below.) and I do love my Americana Kitch so I just had to stop and indulge.

So at 6 am, I stopped in (walked up actually) to get a selection to take home with me. There were a lot of great choices, but there was also a line of hungry people behind me, so I quickly opted for three classics: chocolate covered, buttermilk and an apple fritter. (I wanted a jelly filled too, but my waistline begged for mercy.) I got them back to my car and started the long drive home. I made it about one mile before I had to dive in.

So how did they taste? First the chocolate. The chocolate coating was smooth and even and had a good cocoa flavor, while the donut itself was large, fresh, sugary and airy. I tried to savor it, but it was hard to do. The buttermilk which was perfectly dense and had a smooth crumb and just the right amount (very subtle) of tang and was positively delicious. At this point, my mouth was coated with sugary residue so I started in on my large cup of coffee that was brewed fresh, strong and hot, while alternating with a small box (how cute and retro!) of cold milk (it just seemed right). For the final test I bit into the apple fritter. It was nirvana. Fresh and perfect, dense and moist with a touch of cinnamon and big chunks of appley bits. I was one happy girl.

I only indulge in donuts once or twice a year, and I have to say, it was worth every bite, plus the entire calorie splurge cost less than $5.00. A treat AND a value!

Randy's donuts is open 24 hours a day, and in my opinion, make the absolute best breakfast confection in Los Angeles. (Take THAT Krispy Kreme)

Randy's Donuts is located at 805 West Manchester Avenue Inglewood, CA 90301

Archaeologists have found petrified fried cakes with holes in them in the southwestern U.S. in prehistoric Native American ruins.

National Doughnut Day is June 23rd

10 billion donuts are made every year in The United States. (Is that a good thing?)

National donuts chain Krispy Kreme was founded in 1937, rival Dunkin' Donuts in 1950


Randy's Donuts Posted by Hello

Monday, March 07, 2005


Spicy Tuna

Well, I’ve found my dream home. A three bedroom Mediterranean style house on a cliff side in Los Feliz with a spacious kitchen that isn’t over done, (read: the fridge was by Frigidaire, not Sub-Zero) but actually functional and full of warmth and love. Sigh. Since it is not for sale, I am happy to report that the couple living there are not only amazingly kind people, but love to cook. What could be nicer. I met them last night for a sushi lesson and we all had a fantastic time. We made miso soup, sunomono salad, futomaki rolls (with salmon, avocado, carrots, enoki mushrooms and shiso leaves), sushi (with halibut) and spicy tuna handrolls. I bought (as I always do) all of the ingredients at Safe and Save on Sawtelle in West LA. This is the basic recipe for the spicy tuna. It is just as good wrapped in nori as it is served over a bed of mixed greens. Enjoy!

2 oz. sparkling fresh tuna, chopped
1 tablespoon best quality mayonnaise
½ teaspoon chile oil
½ teaspoon chile pepper powder

Combine all just prior to use. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Enough for six hand rolls or two futomaki
According to Jeffery Steingarten, author of It Must Have Been Something I Ate...Ahi is the Hawaiian word for Yellowfin tuna, which the Japanese consider inferior to (most other types of tuna)…
“Boasting of Ahi on a menu is like featuring USDA Commercial grade beef at a steak house.”

Shiso leaves are from the plant Japanese Perilla and belong to the same family as mint or basil. Rich in calcium and iron, shiso was originally employed as a medicine and preservative.

Tuna quickly turns an unappetizing brown (or chocolate, as it is called in the industry), whether it is fresh or conventionally frozen and thawed. Carbon monoxide, a gas that is also a component of wood smoke, is currently being used to prevent the fish from discoloring. The gas is used by many overseas producers, and although tasteless, is more concentrated; it can be as much as 100 percent carbon monoxide, said Bill Kowalski, an owner of Hawaii International Seafood. Most sushi bars and supermarkets have switched to the treated product since it was introduced in the late 1990's. 25 million pounds of treated tuna, about 30 percent of total tuna imports, were brought into the United States last year. Retailers in the United States buy it already treated. Suppliers and retailers who use the treated fish say the process allows them to sell high-quality, flash-frozen fish that still looks good enough to eat. The Food and Drug Administration says the process is harmless. The agency permits its use to preserve the color of fresh tuna, not to enhance brown tuna, and requires stores to label treated fish. But they often do not. Any tuna that is hot pink has probably been treated with carbon monoxide. Tuna that is bright red may be extremely fresh, and therefore very expensive, or may have been treated with the gas. Tuna that is selling for less than $12 a pound is probably treated.” - Excerpt from, from an article by Julia Moskin that was Published: October 6, 2004

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Cooking School

People frequently ask me what I think of professional cooking schools. Well, I went to cooking school and I loved every minute of it, (made great friends and learned a lot, blah, blah) but I also think it is REALLY important that people thinking about going keep a few things in mind, (like loving to whip up fancy meals at home has almost nothing to do with churning out 400 dinners in four hours.) Think of this as a little reality check before you write that real (gynormous) check…

Cooking schools are for-profit TRADE SCHOOLS. Just to be clear, let me explain, cooking schools teach you – conceptually – how the food-service industry works. You will be learning more about costing out menus, safety and sanitation, how to fix an oven, how to butcher a rabbit and how to convert recipes into industrial quantities (in metric no less) and classic French techniques for making demi-glace than perfecting your coq au vin recipe. What they don't do is offer practical restaurant kitchen experience. (They make no secret of this fact either...once you are there, but they want your check first.) Sure they have a restaurant or two you do some time in, but they hardly reflect how things operate in the real world. You absolutely must keep that in mind. They ARE teaching you how the business works from all angles, which is what you are there for anyway, not just how to cook. And it is one tough business they are trying to prep you for.

So when people tell me they are considering going to cooking school, I tell them this: Get a job in the best restaurant that will have you, FIRST. (And learn to speak Spanish.) And while you are there make sure to ask everyone everything you can think of, taste everything and volunteer to do more. There is positively no better training. A professional kitchen is not for the timid, weak, faint of heart or those with frail egos. Cooks work long, (16 hour days are common) hot, repetitive, yet frantic days with little or no creative input (until they are the chefs themselves) for pretty low wages and then wake up the next day to do it again. They work holidays, weekends, birthdays and everything in-between. It's a lifestyle choice as much as it is a job. The rewards are that they get to do what they love, be with people of a like mind and they never go hungry.

After a few years, if you find you need a degree to move on, THEN go back to school…


Martha Stewart has shed 20 pounds while serving her sentence for lying to investigators
about a suspicious stock sale, through workouts, yoga and her distaste for prison food.
She will be released this weekend.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Does My Blog Look Good In This?

I have said before, but I will say again, I love that there is such a ardent following for all of the incredible food blogs out there, and I am so happy to be part of that community!

On that note, I submitted the picture I took in Chile of Cazuela de Ave to the contest "Does My Blog Look Good In This?" and hope you will all go to that site to check out my shot and the amazing competition, and vote! (Sheepish blush and grin.) Thanks!

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