Retro Recipes and Traditional Fare

Cioppino with Roasted Tomatoes

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by David Latt

cioppinoinbowlCioppino is said to have originated among fishermen who made their dinners out of the fish and shellfish they couldn't sell in the morning. Although it has evolved into a pricey item on upscale menus, at heart cioppino is comfort food.

Traditionally cioppino features fresh crab, reflecting the origin of the dish in San Francisco where Dungeness crabs are plentiful. When crab isn't available or affordable, shrimp works just as well. Clams and mussels are essential to the dish, as are cubes of fish fillets. Flounder sole, tilapia, salmon, or halibut all work well.

Find a reliable supplier of seafood. To ensure we're getting the freshest ingredients, we buy our clams and mussels from Carlsbad Aqua Farm at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market (Wednesday and Sunday) and our flounder sole from Tropical Seafood at the Pacific Palisades Farmers' Market (Sunday).

Double Kraut-Double Cheese Burgers

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by Cathy Pollak

double-kraut-double-cheese-burgersThere used to be this hole-in-the-wall place in Hollywood serving these super-juicy out-of-this-world burgers. Cheese and kraut were literally melting and dripping down the sides as well as my fingers and chin. I swear these burgers were messier than a Tommy's burger, and that's saying something. I used to frequent this place when I was interning for an entertainment company right across the street from the old Grauman's Chinese Theater.

I wish I could remember what the place was called, but twenty years have passed and I can barely remember last week. It was the type of eatery only locals frequented or knew about. The bead board walls were shabbily painted red. There were a few scratched up tables and not much else but a giant flat top grill and a register. Two guys in the back flipped some of the best burgers I can recall. They took "cash only". Who knows if they are still around, but their kraut burgers have lived on in my mind.

Since Father's Day is on the forefront it's time to start thinking about "manly food" and what to make for the dad's in our lives. Fermented foods like sauerkraut have also been on my mind. My current work with Sargento has me investigating fermented foods as a culinary trend.

Homemade Matzoh Ball Soup

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by Susan Salzman

soup matzoballThe change in temperature; going from cold to hot to cold again has wreaked havoc on my family and their health. Me included. Last week, there were two mornings that I dropped the kids off at school, came home, and got right back into bed. Slept for hours, with a puppy on my belly. Regardless of feeling totally crappy, there truly is nothing better than getting back under the covers (at 9:00 a.m.) with a cozy, little Lola close by.

Thank goodness for my freezer. Meal planning, prepping, and stocking the freezer pays off. In my opinion, it’s a wonderful feeling, opening the freezer door and seeing laborious hours spent in the kitchen, put to good use.

Before crawling back into bed, I went to my extra freezer and took out three quarts of chicken stock. I also grabbed 2 organic chicken breasts and set both on a rimmed baking sheet to thaw. After several hours of napping, I had just enough energy to roast the chicken, cut the veggies, and prep the matzoh balls.

For my family, matzo ball soup is one of our favorite comfort meals. It’s a one pot meal that covers all the food groups; protein, grains, vegetables, and fat. Plus, this meal leaves plenty of room for dessert.

Spicy Horseradish Macaroni Salad

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by Cathy Pollak

spicy-horseradish-macaroni-salad-a-great-bbq-side-dishI'm channeling cookout weather! If I continue to make side dishes perfect for a weekend barbecue, maybe mother nature will play along. While we have had a few scattered 80-degree days, the rain and clouds keep inserting themselves into the mix. Let's face it, the weather in the Pacific Northwest is really not summer-like until July, but I can always hope and continue to eat like the season has arrived.

Anyway, let's talk about horseradish. Do you love it or hate it? I know I dislike when horseradish is so overwhelming that my nose starts to run. It can really be overpowering. So, don't worry, this salad is not like that. The horseradish is more of a background flavor. You will know it's there but it will not assault you.

In fact this salad has so many lovely flavors to celebrate. I absolutely love the way it turned out. I couldn't help but add some fresh oregano from the garden. Fresh herbs make a regular salad "pop" when it comes to taste. This salad will easily accompany many of your summer favorite grilled foods. Think of serving it on the side with bbq chicken, juicy burgers or thick pork chops. Wow, I'm getting hungry just mentioning all of those things.

Time to make another batch!!

Stews: When time is on your side, taste will be too

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by Noelle Carter

stewFrom the LA Times

The first time I met chef Paul Prudhomme, he was peering over the stove in his narrow test kitchen, a converted shotgun house just outside the French Quarter in New Orleans. Chef was heating oil in a large cast-iron skillet, and when he saw me, he invited me over to watch him fix gumbo.

When the oil was smoking hot, he quickly whisked in flour to form a roux — "Cajun napalm," he called it — the bubbling mass darkening to a deep chocolate brown in minutes. He stirred a trinity of vegetables into the roux to stop the cooking — onions, celery and bell peppers — then added the roux to a pot of boiling stock. Chopped andouille sausage and garlic went in as he patiently watched the stew, tasting occasionally, over a slow, quiet hour while it gently simmered away. When the rich aroma was almost too much to bear, Chef added chopped chicken, and soon the gumbo was ready.

I can't say which I savored more: the depth of flavor from a seemingly simple dish or the unhurried quiet, almost sacred, time spent preparing it.

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Spaghetti with Pancetta and Peas

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by Joseph Erdos

spaghetticarbonaraHave you opened your freezer lately? I bet it's completely full just like mine. And how about the pantry? In the freezer I had a package of peas and sliced pancetta leftover from this Boeuf Bourguignon. In the refrigerator I had a pint of sour cream and a block of Parmesan cheese. In the cupboard I had a box of spaghetti. My staple ingredients included oil, shallots, garlic, and black pepper.

All these ingredients come together to form a luscious pasta dish in anticipation of springtime. The peas provide bursts of verdant flavor and the pancetta a salt-and-brine flavor. The combination of sour cream and Parmesan cheese with some pasta water creates the perfect sauce.

But the best part about this recipe is the endless possibility for reinterpretation depending upon what you have. The ingredients do not have to be the exact ones mentioned here. Use bacon instead of pancetta. Use heavy cream or milk instead of sour cream. Use fettuccine instead of spaghetti. It's up to you to experiment and have fun with it.

Worlds Best Creamy Coleslaw

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by James Moore

bestcoleslawIt’s hard to believe that we’re already approaching Labor Day weekend – the summer just flew by. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), Labor Day is one of the most popular holidays for barbecuing - after 4th of July and Memorial Day.

So most likely, if you’re not hosting a gathering, you’ve been invited to one. No other side dish embodies a cookout quite the same as coleslaw. When made correctly, it’s the perfect accompaniment to savory barbecued meats and vegetables.

The trick is to create a crisp salad with fresh vibrant flavors that isn’t too sweet or too soupy. This is one of my favorite “dressings” for coleslaw. It can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to toss with the cabbage and veggies.

Eating Swedish Gravlax and Curing Your Own Salmon

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by Lisa McRee

gravloxOnce in a great while, I come across a spectacular dish that needs little tinkering because it’s already perfectly healthy and incredibly easy like Swedish Gravlax with Mustard Dill Sauce.

Not the same as the smoked salmon you’d find in a grocery store, but similar to traditional lox you sometimes find in a kosher deli, gravlax is “cold-cured” in salt and sugar. But with the additional seasonings of fresh dill and Aquavit (a Scandinavian alcohol flavored with caraway and other herbs and spices), it has a uniquely delicious taste that somehow makes it more “special” than any deli breakfast food. (That hint of “specialness” may also be because a gravlax appetizer in a restaurant like Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit in New York will run you 20 bucks…)

So when in Stockholm for the husband’s “Jack Reacher” premier in December, I was thrilled to see gravlax (or gravad lox) show up at every meal.

Dating an Ultra-Runner

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by Alison Wonderland Tucker

mile-1The biggest problem with dating an ultra-runner is how unimpressive your small, daily achievements seem in comparison.  My boyfriend, Shannon, ran 8 ultra-marathons (marathons longer than 26.2 miles) in 2012, bringing his race and training mileage to around 3500 miles in just one calendar year. 3500 miles- the distance from New York to Los Angeles, on foot.

I’m still in a great deal of denial about the whole thing.

One of the perks of dating an ultra-runner, however, is that you get to cheer them on in some truly amazing places.  This past January, we traveled to Hawaii so he could compete in one of the hardest ultra-marathons in the world; The H.U.R.T. 100 Mile Endurance Run.

“Compete” is actually the wrong word.  Most 100 mile races are so challenging that the runners try to concentrate more on finishing than finishing first.  I learned a lot on this trip while listening to racers tell stories about how desperately they wanted to quit mid-race but reached deep within themselves and found the emotional and physical fortitude to continue on.

But wait a minute.  Back to me.

James Moore's Oscar Worthy Appetizer

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by James Moore

roastbeefappThis is one of the simplest recipes but always a crowd pleaser. Everything can be picked up at the grocery store – unless you’re in the mood to roast your own peppers – and assembled quickly at home. The recipe can easily be increased to make as many servings as your gathering requires. Trader Joes makes a great Fire Roasted Red Bell Pepper if you happen to have one nearby.

Rare Roast Beef with Boursin and Red Bell Pepper Appetizers

Makes 12 pieces

12 slices dark pumpernickel bread or rye cocktail bread

1/2 cup Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs cheese, at room temperature

6 thinly sliced pieces deli rare roast beef, cut in half

1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, cut into 1/4-inch wide strips

3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or dill

Fresh ground black pepper

1. Spread each piece of bread with 2 teaspoons of Boursin cheese and place piece roast beef. Top with 3 pepper strips and sprinkle with thyme or dill and a few grinds of black pepper. Refrigerate for up to 3 hours and bring to room temperature before serving.

 

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