fruit bowl  

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

 photo by Jamie Wolf

GOLDBELY! Beyond Guilty Pleasure

by Nancy Ellison

the purple pie placeThis site is Foodie Porn!

(You do not want your friends to know about Goldbely...honestly. And, word of warning, do not check out this site unless you have TUMS at your fingertips)

I tripped on this awesome web site today and scrolling down the imagery, it became obvious that there was nothing...N*O*T*H*I*N*G on this site that comes under the heading of “healthy.” About time!

Goldbely declares, “We are on a mission to discover all things delicious… seeking out the legendary local restaurants, amazing artisans and great gourmet food purveyors that produce amazing regional products…Our vision is an online marketplace that connects curious eaters with America's best gourmet food purveyors. We are creating an alternative to the food conglomerates.”

Their goal - “To make the world a yummier place.”

Hip Jam In Silver Lake

by Jessica Harper

Ricotta toast 2If you should find yourself visiting a much-more-hip-than-you relative in the much-more-hip-than-where-you-live section of L.A. called Silver Lake, stop in at a wee restaurant called Sqirl. It’s worth the humiliation of being the least hip person in the neighborhood on a Friday afternoon.

Sqirl is famous for their jams (like Santa Rosa Plum and Flowering Thyme, or Shady Lady Tomato) but the menu rocks with lots of other treats, some vegan, some decidedly not, like the Famed Ricotta Toast, which was my pick. (I loaded it with Snow Queen Nectarine jam.)

I told my daughter I could eat it every day for breakfast. She pointed out that if I did so I would end up the size of a house.

So, no, I won’t be having this every day for breakfast. But I will have it again next time I cross the hipness border into Silver Lake.

Dinner Party Tips

by Amy Ephron

asparagus1There’s something lovely about inviting friends for dinner, an actual dinner party with table settings and flowers. A group of friends sitting around a table, lingering over the main course, a couple of glasses of wine or home-made Arnold Palmer’s, and finishing with an excellent pie, preferably cherry. But having a dinner party can be a lot of work. And often, unless you have a lot of help, the host and hostess don’t get to always socialize themselves. So, I have a new trick.

Make-ahead sides. And on top of that room temperature sides. The thought is, it has to be a little big elegant, healthy, and, of course delicious.

I’d talked Alan into barbequing small farm raised Greek branzino (supporting the Greeks seemed like an excellent idea.) Then served the appetizers outside so he wouldn’t feel lonely while he grilled. It was a gorgeous night anyway and it’s L.A.

Simple appetizers. Cheese, an assortment of California goat and French triple creme. (Cheese is an indulgence anyway so why not triple creme. Served with an excellent bakery baguette sliced very thin. Olives. Almonds. A sliced pear. And lovely heart crackers because I love the way they look. And raw cut carrots and celery because definitely one of our guests would be only eating that....

Even the appetizers were no fuss. It was lovely and so was the summer corn salad (definitely cribbed from a Wolfgang Puck recipe) and the room temperature asparagus vinaigrette, an invention of my own.

Time for Apples

by Matt Armendariz

ImageLast year I discovered that I actually enjoyed apples. I realize they are one of the most basic things on the planet and I won’t even pretend to touch on their historical or metaphorical influence, but let’s just say that the apple never made its way into my list of food cravings or desires.  I never bothered picking any up at the market, I never found them particularly sexy or exciting and I figured as long as I worked on Mac computers I was surrounded enough by them. Then a little thing happened where I tried a new crop Vasquez apple and realized what all the fuss was about. Apart from being nutritional gems, I was pleasantly surprised that an apple could be crisp, non-mealy, pleasant, and provide a happy balance between tart and sweet, or even not so sweet and just overall refreshing. Ok ok, I know what you’re thinking: um, could Matt come to this apple party any later in life? It’s ok, I completely agree. In fact I had never really shared my blasé attitude about them until it was replaced by my love affair with apples.

Now it seems I have random apples wherever I go. They are the perfect snack for me because they are portable, durable, fit in my computer bag and allow me to save those annoying little stickers with the PLU on them and put them on my fingernails and point at things until people notice. Plus they signal the arrival of fall and all the good stuff that is to come. It’s that new-crop versus cold-storage thing, not that I don’t eat the latter. And on rare occasions the apple allows me to observe mother nature’s miraculous break down of plant matter when a stray apple rolls out of my bag and under the passenger seat of my car, scenting my ride with the happy smell of Pink Lady* before giving way to the odor of rotting flesh, its origin alluding me until I take my vehicle to the car wash. And here I thought it was just the smell of Carson, California.

Apple Crisp Bars

by Susan Salzman

applecrispI had a vegetable drawer filled with fuji apples that had seen better days.  They were not fit to eat for my mid morning snack.  It’s rare that I clean out my vegetable bin and throw things away.  I always try and “re purpose” neglected veggies and fruit and turn them into something delicious.

These apples were no different.  I need to turn them into something yummy and a crostata wasn’t going to cut it (my usual go to dessert when I have too much of one thing on hand).  A few weeks back I had given away a copy of The Fearless Baker on this blog post and I really wanted to bake a few more things from the book. I remembered reading about her Apple Crisp Bars and earmarked the page.  I grabbed the book and started collecting ingredients.  I already have a favorite crust for fruit type bars as well as a streusel topping.  I did, however, make her apple filling and it was good enough to eat with a spoon, all on it’s own.

I brought these to a casual lunch and both men and women devoured them.  The kids topped the ends and the leftovers with vanilla bean ice cream and said it was hands down better than any apple dessert they had ever tasted.  This gets my vote as well!

Individual SweeTango Apple Crisp

by Amy Sherman

applecrispLast week I got a shipment of SweeTango apples to try. New varieties of apples appear up now and again and the SweeTango is a relatively new one that's harvested the end of August and beginning of September. It's a very pretty apple with a bright mix of golden green and bright red.

The SweeTango is a cross between a Honeycrisp and a Zestar apple. Honeycrisp is sweet and crisp and Zestar is juicy and zesty. The cross is a very good eating apple but you can use it for cooking too. It's a juicy apple so it doesn't need additional liquid and is best for recipes that are fairly quick cooking because it gets very soft when cooked.

The SweeTango is perfect for apple crisp, which is super easy to make, easier than pie or even a cobbler. It's the kind of thing that takes only minutes to prepare, then you can pop it in the oven after or even during dinner. The smell of apples, butter and cinnamon might be the best thing about autumn.

Vanilla Cider Pork with Pears

by Cathy Pollak

porkpearsPork, pears and cider are a very natural combination, one I love.  This recipe uses "hard" cider (with alcohol) because of its crispness and acidity.  Never had hard cider?  Look for it wherever beer is sold, it might be your new favorite adult beverage. 

It's very, very good and can be purchased year round.  Non-alcoholic apple cider works great too (not the Treetop or Mott's brand...real, fresh apple cider, which is easily found this time of year).

Anyway, this meal is pretty tasty.  The pork tenderloin stays juicy and the pears are pretty incredible too.  Paired with the easy to make wild rice, this meal is always well received at my home with thumbs up from the husband and my oldest son.  My youngest had spaghetti, he will come around one day.

This meal is also company worthy, it's very satisfying and looks and smells incredible while cooking.

Watercress, Seckel Pear, and Brie Salad: Safe to Serve for Company

by Susan Russo

watercresspeargoatcheesesaladI don't think there is a cheese that my father doesn't like. He once received a pungent, powerfully-smelly Italian cheese from a friend; he described it as: "Good. Very tasty. With the smell though, you could never serve it for company, but if it's just for close family, yeah, it's good."

It certainly didn't stop him, or my family, from eating it.

At my house we ate a lot of cheese -- as a appetizer, on dishes, after dinner, or just for a snack. Unlike Reggiano-Parmesan and Grana Padano, brie was not a staple cheese growing up, but it's a staple in our refrigerator now.

In fact, there is currently a wheel of brie made from goat's milk in my refrigerator courtesy of Steve at Ile de France, (he has no idea how happy he has made Jeff). It has a remarkably silky texture and pleasingly tart flavor.

Though most typically served as an appetizer with crackers and cured meats, or baked into a puff pastry, brie is quite versatile. It enlivens paninis, enriches pastas, and makes delectable crostini and quesadillas. For a rustic dessert, pair it with nuts and fresh fruit such as grapes, figs, dates, and pears.

Easy Tuscan White Bean Soup

by James Moore

italiansoup.jpgI love making big batches of soup on the weekend. I store some of it in the refrigerator, and the rest I freeze in quart containers for when I need a quick lunch or dinner. I also prefer using homemade chicken stock, which I also keep in the freezer.

Whenever I have a rotisserie chicken from the market, I throw whatever is left in a pot with an onion, celery, some peppercorns and cover with 3 or 4 quarts of water and boil for an hour or two to create a rich and flavorful stock. 

This traditional Italian soup is one of my favorites – it uses mostly basic ingredients, but is so delicious. The flavors intensify as it sits, so it’s even better the next day.

An Easy 30 Minute Meal

by David Latt

ArugulasaladavocadoWhen you're pressed for time, the last thing most people want to do is cook. Coming home after a hard day at the office or dealing with kids and errands, the kitchen can seem unwelcoming.

You're hungry. It's dark outside. The house is cold. You open the freezer and stare at the frozen dinner you bought two months ago but never nuked. A can of chicken noodle soup in the pantry holds the promise of a warm meal but a quick read of the label tells you that the salt content is high enough to brine a Thanksgiving turkey.

Your mind tries to convince you that you aren't all that hungry. Maybe all you really want is a glass of wine and a bowl of dry cereal.

But you are hungry and you'd feel a lot better if you had a home cooked meal.

The truth is all it takes is a little planning and a couple of easy-to-make recipes and you'll actually look forward to coming home and cooking dinner. Ok, maybe that's a little Pollyannaish, but you get the idea.

Harvest Chicken Salad

by James Farmer III

chicksalad.jpgGive me a sweet and salty combo and I’m a happy Farmer. My Autumn Harvest Chicken Salad suits said liking marvelously.

Chicken salad likes and dislikes can be about as individual as eye color, yet that is the appeal of the dish…one can create, add, take away, or combine just about any flavors and textures to make his or her very own chicken salad. Enter this Farmer’s Autumn Harvest Chicken Salad.

It is fall, ya’ll, if my raving autumnal posts haven’t given away that fact already. With a season change, flavor changes are also craved and chicken salad is a dish in which to inject these seasonal cravings. From apples to roasted pecans and walnuts to cranberries and a tangy dressing, this salad is easy, serves plenty of folks, and has just the right amount of tweaks to make it a new favorite. Roasting is the trick for this chicken salad.

Roasting the chicken and the nuts brings about a layer of flavors, a depth of richness that only this cooking technique can bring to the table, literally! I lather the thin chicken cutlets with olive oil, sundried tomatoes and garlic, and then season with cracked salt and pepper. These thin cuts of meat roast quickly at 400 degrees and make the house smell as if you’ve been cooking for days.

A Perfect Fall Meal

by Joseph Erdos

Image What cooking method can be more primal than roasting? When humans discovered fire, it was by roasting over an open pit. Today we simulate this method of indirect cooking in the oven, achieving the best taste by concentrating flavors, retaining interior moisture, and creating a beautiful brown exterior. In gastronomy-speak, this caramelization is known as the Maillard reaction, which is the basic chemical reaction all food undergoes when cooked. But the cavepeople didn't care how sugars reacted with amino acids, all they knew was that fire made things taste good.

I often roast almost anything during the autumn months. Once October comes, roasting is my favorite activity. Meats are of course among the favorite items to roast. Just think of a luscious roast chicken or roast beef. But many seem to forget that pork and vegetables also make wonderful roasts.


Stories Below1

Kumquat-and-Sriracha-Glazed Chicken Wings
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spicywingsWings are a major part of any Super Bowl party. For many people, they're just as important as the game. I mean, can you imagine watching the game without a wing in one hand and a beer in the other? I don't think so! Buffalo wings are simply the classic football appetizer, but there's more to good wings than just a coating of hot sauce.


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by Susan Russo

baconguacamoleMay 5th is Cinco de Mayo, the day when Mexicans commemorate their victory over the French in the Battle at Puebla of 1862. In the Mexican town of Puebla, schoolchildren will study history, artists will sing and dance and chefs will cook traditional foods, all to honor their brave ancestors.

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Wicked Chili
by Sue Doeden

ImageThere must be as many ways to make chili as there are shades of Sherwin-Williams paints. There’s no right or wrong way to make chili. It’s all about what pleases your taste buds. And, I’m always willing to give a new twist to a pot of chili.

Dennis Weimann, News Director/Anchor of Lakeland News at Lakeland Public Television sent me an email the...

Red Grapes in Muffins? Oh Yeah.
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Brown Sugar-Glazed Grilled Plums
by Joseph Erdos

grilledplumsPlump, sweet, and juicy—these are the best-tasting plums. Late summer brings with it all the different types of plums—colors of white, black, red and shapes of round and oval. There are too many...

Fresh Figs x 2
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figs.jpgThis past weekend at the BlogHer Conference, I was on a panel entitled, "The Meaning of Identity and The Value of Voice in a Crowded Foodblogging World." I shared the stage with three lovely and...

Prune Plums
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plums.jpgMy brother Brad and his wife Cynthia brought a giant bag of tree-ripened, sweet prune plums from their place in Hood River, Oregon down to Los Angeles recently. I felt a bit of a pig, but I...





Eating Across France

by Lisa Dinsmore

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