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one for the table  

Dedicated to the notion that one of the things that’s wrong with the world is that there aren’t enough waffles in it and everyone should sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes order “one for the table”.

-Amy Ephron

 
 

Holly Goldberg Sloan’s Southwest Chicken Kid-style

by Holly Goldberg Sloan
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holly_sunflower.jpgI had my first dinner party when I was twelve years old.  I invited six girls.  I can name them all now:  Annie Kleinsasser.  Katie Kleinsasser (her thirteen year old knowing and powerful big sister who wore a bra).  Sara Bingham.  Kathy Golden.  Sue Cross.  Dee Dee Ruff.  We were just finishing the sixth grade.  We’d be going on to Junior High School.  

This was going to be something BIG. 

I felt it was worthy of celebration.   I would have liked to invite six boys but I also would have liked to travel to the moon and I had about as much chance of that as getting the nerve to cook and then eat actual food in front of Kevin Hoffman, Bill Holland, Dan Chapman, Steve Acker, Jamie Oyama and Robbie Ellis.   

So what if kids my age didn’t throw dinner parties? I worked on the seating chart and the menu for a full week.  Big glitch number one came at the end of that week. 

Was I really cooking dinner for seven kids?  Yes. Then why was red wine on my shopping list?  Was I considering serving wine and smoking pot at this supposed dinner party?  Was that what I was really up to?  It was 1970.  Being paranoid was justified.

The Best Tomato Zucchini Casserole

by Amy Ephron
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6 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
6 zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
Olive oil
1/4 Panko bread crumbs
Fresh basil (you can use dry if you don’t have fresh)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven 400*F. Lightly grease casserole dish with butter or olive oil.

In a bowl, season the tomato and zucchini slices with salt, pepper, and drizzle a little olive oil on it and toss a bit.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs, herbs, cheese and remaining olive oil. Mix thoroughly.

Alternate layers of the tomatoes and zucchini in a gratin dish or casserole. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top the vegetables.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

The Best Apple Peanut Butter Tart

by Matt Armendariz
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apple-peanut-butter-tartMany projects I work on have a moratorium on sharing. Sometimes by me, other times by the publisher or editor who usually lets me know when I can start blabbing about it. Sometimes the lead times are long (a year or two in advance!), other times I just have to wait a month or two until whatever I photographed has hit the streets.

Of course, most of the time it’s ok to share a little bit via Instagram and Facebook, but I usually err on the side of caution and keep my mouth shut.

Which is painful when there are great recipes I want to talk about. Like this one. Oh my goodness, this one.

I am a peanut butter freak, and combined with an apple or banana it’s my standard sweet snack. I knew I’d love this recipe from Jenny Flake’s The Picky Palate Cookbook when we were reviewing the recipe list, and when Adam and his team began to assemble it I knew that the shape would photograph beautifully, and I knew that the shape would also fit in my stomach perfectly.

I think I ate the whole damn thing.

Lois Chiles' Down-Home Meatloaf With a Twist

by Lois Chiles
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This is a recipe that my family has been enjoying for years because it is moist not dry.  We received it from Aunt Dinny who is not known for her cooking yet this is a good one!

2 pounds of ground round
3/4 cup of Quaker oats
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 onion diced
2 eggs
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1 small can of tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon of basil

Mix ingredients together and put in a meat loaf pan.  Top with bacon strips or ketchup or both. Bake in a 350°F oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

 

Potato Tacos

by Matt Armendariz
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ImageIn the world of taquerias there are potato tacos (tacos de papa) and then there are potato tacos. And if you’ve never had one, it’s exactly what you think: tender chunks of potatoes are cooked with onions and spices and nestled inside a corn tortilla and topped with shredded lettuce and salsa.

Sometimes.

And sometimes they’re mashed and tucked inside a corn or flour tortilla and doused with Mexican crema and again, topped with lettuce, cabbage, salsa or pico de gallo.

And then there’s the Casa de Matt variety: a type that forsakes all pomp and circumstance and distills it down to the bare essentials. And it’s not very pretty.

The Best Fish Tacos

by Joseph Erdos
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fishtacosFor the longest time I didn't know what a real taco was. As a kid we ate tacos from the store-bought kit, and on rare occasion we might have fast food tacos from that place with the bell. But the first time I had real tacos was at a popular Mexican restaurant in New York during my college years. It just so happens that those first tacos were fish tacos. Since then they've been my all-time favorite.

I've never been to the place where fish tacos originated, Baja California, but I can easily imagine myself eating them on a beach with white sand and crystal clear waters. Some fish tacos are made from fried fish, but I like mine grilled with a spice-rub. This recipe is just that—it's packed with flavor and perfect on a summer day spent out on the patio.

I like to make my fish tacos with mahi-mahi, which works very nicely on the grill. Its meaty and doesn't fall apart too easily. But once it's cooked, it's easy to flake into big, juicy chunks, perfect for packing into tacos. I don't just use any store-bought tacos, I make mine from scratch—it's easy because all you need is the corn flour and water.

Shrimp Tacos with Grilled Pineapple-Jalapeno Salsa

by Cathy Pollak
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grilled-shrimp-tacos-with-pineapple-jalapeno-salsa-close-upI am obsessed with shrimp tacos right now! We are eating them at least twice a week and even that isn't enough for me. They are such an easy meal to put together. Sometimes they are more fancy than others and other times it's just the tortilla and shrimp. 

Shrimp tacos always taste better (to me anyways) with a sweet-heat factor. For this recipe I chose pineapple and jalapeno made into a simple salsa. It makes the taco!! I think fresh corn would have been amazing in there as well. However, I did want a little complexity so I grilled the pineapple to give it that "burnt sugar" flavor, which is always amazing in any dish.

Fresh pineapples can be daunting to slice. I know many people shy away from giving it a try. But friends there is no reason to do that! This OXO Pineapple Slicer is an awesome tool that really works. I always place my pineapple in a bowl, like you see here, to catch all the flavorful juice. It slices beautifully! And the hard core remains in the pineapple. Get one if you can, your summer might not be the same without it. And if you are having a summer luau, don't even think twice about not having one of these on hand.

Crepas de Pollo con Salsa Pomegranate

by Amy Ephron
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French Colonial in flavor, this dish is delicate and mild.
 
Crepas:  Follow your favorite crepe or pancake recipe bearing in mind that if you use a pancake mix, you will need to thin mixture with more milk. Crepas should be the size of a tortilla.  Crepas can be made in advance.
 
Béchamel sauce: Again, follow any Basic Béchamel Sauce / White Sauce recipe but perhaps add a pinch of cayenne and salt to taste.
 
Filling for crepas
2 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken
I small coarsely chopped onion which has been lightly sautéed in butter (or corn oil)
2 tablespoons chopped white raisins (optional)
2 tablespoons blanched chopped almonds
a small amount of your white sauce to mix with the ingredients
 
 
Combine the above ingredients and fill crepas as if you were preparing enchiladas and place seam side down in a buttered shallow baking dish.  Pour white sauce over all.
Sprinkle with any mild cheese of your choice which has been grated, and bake at 325 degrees for about fifteen or twenty minutes…until a hint of a light golden brown. (A gratin)
 
Serve with sour cream and pomegranate salsa
 
pomegranate_with_salsa_sm.jpgPomegranate Salsa
 
Putting together a salsa is both a visual and taste driven personal choice…

 
Seeds from one or two pomegranates (depending on quantity)
Blood oranges, if you can find them, otherwise
One or two cans mandarin oranges gently chopped
Red onion finely chopped
White raisins soaked in tequila
1 fresh jalapeno minced (or less according to taste)
Minced cilantro
Juice of one lime
A pinch of cumin
Coyote Cocina ancho hot sauce (or your own favorite hot sauce)
 
Take a little of the chopped orange, either the juice from the mandarin orange tin or a spoonful of jalapeno jelly, the cumin, lime juice and your favorite hot sauce to taste and puree to create a binder.
Lightly toss together with remaining ingredients.

 

Black Bean Nachos

by Joseph Erdos
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blackbeannachosAmong all the international foods enjoyed in this country, Mexican food is one of the most popular. It's hard not to love Mexican food: the spiciness, complex and earthy flavors, and multiple textures. It's truly soul-satisfying comfort food. And why shouldn't we like the food of our neighbors? Though we don't always behave so neighborly. With all that's happening right now with Arizona's proposed new immigration law, we can't forget that immigrants built this nation and Mexican-Americans have contributed much to this country.

Cinco de Mayo, the fifth of May, is the day that commemorates the Mexican defeat of the French army in Peubla in 1862. In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is not an official holiday and it's not often celebrated. Here in the States we celebrate it as a day of Mexican heritage with lots of food and drink. And what's a Mexican celebration without those two party necessities?

This traditional Mexican snack/appetizer consists of tortilla chips topped with black beans and queso, placed under the broiler so the cheese turns oozy. It's all topped with chunks of tomato and avocado, sliced scallions, and pickled jalapeños. This party food is meant to go with drinks, so grab some Margaritas and dig in. 

Pavlova

by James Moore
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strawberry mint pavlova

Strawberry, Lime, and Mint Pavlova with Whipped Cream

After a long winter where even Southern California has had its share of cold temperatures, it’s nice to transition to brighter, fresher, springtime recipes. Pavlova is a perfect example - light, airy, elegant – it’s a whimsical dessert that combines crisp meringue with a “marsmallow-y” center, lightly sweetened whipped cream, and macerated fresh fruit that provides beautiful color and texture.

There’s been a long-running argument between Australia and New Zealand over who invented the pavlova which was named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who visited both countries in the 1920s. While Australians and New Zealanders agree on that, there is still no consensus on who invented it.

Regardless of where it was created, this recipe, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, is easy to make and perfect for spring holidays like Easter and Passover. By following a few simple techniques, the recipe delivers a nearly foolproof showstopper for your spring celebration.

 

 

 

A Day at Venice Beach

by Maureen Greer

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