Kbell's Perfect Brisket
My friend KBell makes socks for a living. But it’s what comes out of her kitchen that’ll really knock your socks off – the world’s most perfect brisket.
My appreciation of certain foods is only enhanced by the symbolism associated with them. As an example, in Italy it's a tradition to eat lentils on new years day. The individual lentils are supposed to represent the coins that will come to you in the new year. Ever since I heard that, the thought of a big sausage and lentil stew on new years day seems like just the right thing. Jewish new years or Rosh Hashanah has its own traditional foods. I grew up eating apples dipped in honey to represent the sweetness of the new year, but I just learned that another traditional food for the Jewish new year is the pomegranate. Moroccan Jews say that the seeds of the pomegranate represent the good deeds or mitzvah that will occur in the new year and I have to say I think that the two-fold symbolism is as sweet as an apple dipped in honey.
Pomegranates like figs, feature prominently in Greek mythology, as well as the bible. They have long been a symbol of fertility in many cultures. Have you ever noticed how often they show up in religious paintings? Christians have so many different interpretations of the pomegranate it's tough to keep track.
Homemade, doughnuts and fritters are the absolute best. They far surpass any "donut" shop doughnuts. When I'm in the mood for doughnuts but don't have the patience to wait for dough to rise, I like to make fritters. They fulfill my craving as fast as I can fry them. Their crispy fried exterior and fluffy interior are what make them a favorite sweet treat for many people. A batch of fritters is very easy to put together and they are great for any occasion. But they make a special treat for Hanukkah, which is celebrated with fried foods like latkes and fritters.
The interesting thing about fritters is that you can find versions of them in many cultures throughout Europe, Asia, and South America. Greeks have Loukoumades, which are balls of fried dough doused in honey syrup. The French have beignets. Italians have zeppole. In Spain and Latin America there are buñuelos. In India there are gulab jamun, balls soaked in spiced sugar syrup. In the United States you can find apple fritter rings, which look just like doughnuts. I'd like to think it possible that the original recipe for fritters made its way through all the different cultures, who then adapted it to their liking.
It has to be the unsexiest of all Jewish foods, the Noodle Kugel. If you say kugel with a nasally tone, it’s even more unsexy than previously mentioned. The word kugel itself reminds me of kegel, another less than sexy term. Maybe that’s the problem.
However, if you were to challenge me, indicating gefeltifish in a jar is the unsexiest of all Jewish food, I might secretly agree with you. But for the moment, I’m going with kugel.
Now, with all of that said, I would like to go on the record proclaiming this particular Noodle Kugel, in all of its high piled noodle glory, as having the sexiest TASTE ever. If you take a peek at the list of ingredients, you’ll see there is no way it could taste bad, it’s like dessert. There is something about the crispy-sugared edges of the baked noodles on top that send you to kugel nirvana. It’s sublime. And please don’t try to tell me there is no place called “kugel nirvana” because I’ve been there.
I hate to admit that French food intimidates me. Both eating it and cooking it. While there are plenty of “rustic” and simple classic dishes they all seem to require a patience, focus and techniques that are hard to master for a self-taught chef. Plus, the list of ingredients can also be rather daunting. The French make some of the most amazing food in the world and you can’t get that complexity of flavor without quality products and a passion to make them come alive. Frankly I rarely have the time or energy to devote to dinner, so I’ve often lusted from afar when it comes to actually preparing French cuisine. I will consider that amazing recipe for about 30 seconds, mouth-watering, before moving on to something far less complicated, and most assuredly less memorable.
That is, until I came across Hillary Davis’s new book French Comfort Food. Sure the “French” part of the title gave me a moment’s pause, but the words “comfort food” caught my attention and sent my mind spinning with dreams of bread, cheese and all sorts of decadent delights. Perhaps even ones that I could create in my kitchen. The book brings together classic, home-style recipes from her experience of living over a decade in France (2 years in Paris, 11 in the South). Some collected from friends she made along the way, others tasted in out-of-the-way bistros and family dinners she found herself included in, many regional dishes that you rarely see here, but still cherished in their native land. Her love of all things French jumps from every page and the photos make you want to immediately book a flight.
Fall always symbolizes new beginnings; fresh school supplies, cozy scarves, and the celebration of the Jewish New Year.
Traditionally, we eat apples and honey which represent a sweet new year. For the next 10 days I try to incorporate honey into most of what I cook. And lately, I have been turned onto raw honey and I am loving the results.
Whether you celebrate this holiday or not, a honey cake is a wonderful way to end any meal. Drizzle some chocolate glaze over the top and you will have your kids (as well as the spouse), begging for more.
OCTOBER 5th - Fowler Museum at UCLA
From 12:00 – 4:00 pm
For the sixth year in a row, home cooks and professionals alike will be judged by some of LA's best chefs and food writers. Enter a pie, cheer on the competitors, visit the Fowler galleries, or just come by and enjoy a slice. Good Food's Evan Kleiman will preside over the afternoon pie festivities which will include music provided by KCRW DJ Anne Litt, pie tasting, food trucks, kids activities and more!.
Think you make the best pie? CLICK HERE for details on participating in the contest. Entries are $10 each. The deadline to enter your pie is September 28th.
For pie tasting, guests are asked to find the KCRW Welcome Table at Wilson Plaza. Tickets are limited based on the number of entries and will be given to guests on a first come, first served basis. Pie tasting begins at 2pm, but the line forms early, so arrive in advance to secure your pie tasting ticket.
The Fowler Museum is hosting a special Kids in the Courtyard event from 1 to 4pm. Kids can make their own mini pie, take a food-themed tour of Intersections: World Arts/Local Lives, and create a kitchen accessory. The museum galleries are open from noon to 5pm on the day of the contest. Entry to the museum and the Kids in the Courtyard event is free.
The lawns surrounding the Fowler Museum are ideal for picnics. Bring a blanket and grab food from the food trucks on site or any of the campus eateries close by.
One night last week Jeff came home from work and handed me a bag from his clinic. I thought, "Yes! More free anti-wrinkle cream!" (Having a dermatologist as a husband does have its advantages). When I peeked inside the bag, however, I discovered something even better than antioxidant cream: a dozen plump, brilliant green figs that were beginning to split from ripeness. "Wow! Where did you get the fresh figs?" I asked. "Adel gave them to me from the tree in her yard," he said.
Adel, who works with Jeff, told him, "Last year my tree produced three figs. One for me, one for my husband, and one for the birds." Fortunately she's having a bumper crop this season, and we're two of the lucky beneficiaries.
To celebrate fall's arrival, I'm sharing a recipe for Dessert Risotto with Wine Poached Figs. Arborio rice, which is used to make risotto, makes the most luxurious rice pudding imaginable: it's plump, tender, and creamy. Topping it with perfumed, wine-poached figs adds elegance and sweetness, resulting in a remarkably velvety, rich pudding.
Bread. I love it, especially when it’s well made. But I freely admit that I try to avoid it. I’m of a certain age and weight when the dangers of too much free carb styling can take a toll. But how hard is that to do now? It’s really hard with all the neighborhood bakeries opening all over town. Yesterday I checked out Bread Lounge in DTLA. Tucked away on the southeast corner of 7th and Santa Fe the location is an indication of just how much DTLA is thriving.
I walked in on a Friday during late lunchtime and it was filled with people dining in and taking out. If you park in the back and walk through to the front the first display you see is packed with all manner of packaged sables, biscotti and other little nibbles.
The production area is on display to your right and there is bread everywhere from large boules and batards to skinny crusty baguettes and a good selection of whole grain and white sturdy sandwich breads. And of course there are the small coffee cakes and viennoiserie that we’ve come to expect.
My love of pasta is no secret, but I’m cutting back. An article in the New York Times covering the latest research about the benefit of low carbohydrate diets has me rethinking my noodle consumption. I won’t give them up completely but now and again I can see trying something different. Something like zucchini noodles.
For a long time I’ve wanted one of those spiralizer type tools. But they are rather expensive and I just wasn’t sure how much use I’d get out of them. There is actually an easy way to make “noodles” out of zucchini or other vegetables using a box grater. You just lay the grater on its side like a mandoline! But I’ve just recently tried out the Microplane spiral cutter and it’s an even better option. At $14.95 it’s a lot less expensive than some of the other tools and takes up very little space. It also has two sizes so you can shred larger or smaller vegetables.
As apple picking season approaches, I’m reminded of this all time family favorite cake. My sister has been making a version of this cake for as long as I can remember.
It’s often referred to as “Jewish Apple Cake” (probably due to the fact that the recipe is completely dairy-free – it uses orange juice instead of milk and oil instead of butter) and there are hundreds of recipes on the internet for it.
It makes an excellent coffee cake and freezes well too.
Do you remember how a peanut butter sandwich always tasted better when your mom made it? Just a couple of slices of bread sandwiching peanut butter. I’d make my own sandwich and it just never tasted as good as the one mom made for me.
Well, that’s what happened with the beets I pickled yesterday. They taste fine, but just not the same as the beets my mom or my mother-in-law used to make. Since I didn’t have a recipe from my mother-in-law, I looked in my mom’s recipe file and found the one she must have used. Although she cheated just a bit and used beets in a can from the grocery store, I used the recipe for the brine she made.
The beets I cooked, peeled and heated in a brine were fresh from the farmers’ market. Just as I remembered from the time my mother-in-law showed me how to make pickled beets, my hands were stained a pretty shade of red by the time I was finished peeling the beets.
by Cathy Pollak
This cake. It was my Dad's favorite. He had a Fall birthday and this is the dessert my Mom made him every year for his office celebration. It was also the batter my Mom could barely keep us kids away from....it was so good, even before it was baked. This was back in the day when no one cared about eating raw cake batter.
This is one of those...
by James Farmer III
While apples are rolling in – out of Georgia’s orchards in lieu of peaches, this fizzy drink makes for a cool refreshment on an Indian summer day. After the first frost of autumn, our Southern climate often experiences warm days reminiscent of summertime before the onset of winter proper.
I love this time of year for its warm during the day and...Read more...
by James Moore
I love rustic or “free-form” tarts. This recipe makes two perfect tarts and can be filled with just about any type of firm fruit – apples, pears, peaches, nectarines or plums – whatever is in season. I used Arrowhead Mills Organic Whole Grain Pastry flour and it gives the crust a perfectly tender, flaky, buttery crust.
3/4 cup whole...Read more...
by Susie Middleton
End of Summer in Edgartown
by Nancy Ellison