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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

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Bagels and Larry King

by Anna Harari
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larryking2.jpgLarry King is my spirit animal. When my brother and I were at El Rodeo Middle School and Beverly Hills High School, respectively, we would often ditch our morning classes and go instead for lox and bagels at Nate & Al’s. If we saw Larry King, we knew it would be a good day. Don’t tell my Mom we ditched, although I’m sure deep down she would have approved. Nate & Al’s was a Concord jet to New York in the middle of Beverly Drive. In fact, I once threw a party in New York and my mother insisted on ordering the hot dogs all the way from Nate & Al’s.

Besides the point, but there was a large fiasco that involved my Mother and both her sisters concerning the foot-long hot dogs that arrived with the lack of foot-long hot dog buns. My Aunt who was hosting the party had a nightmare that the end of the hot dog sticking out of the too short buns would cause ketchup, mustard and the like to spill all over her flawless living room. It was fun without responsibility, and not the kind of party she wanted to be having, so she called their eldest sister to get involved and solve the problem. “I’ll take care of this,” my one Aunt assured the other, and sure enough, the next day a box from Nate & Al’s arrived at my Aunt’s door. But inside were 100 foot-long hot dogs and packs and packs of standard size hot dog buns. So now we had 200 foot-long hot dogs and zero useful hot dog buns, for a party for 35 people. My Mom promptly called Juniors, who referred us to their bakery, and the next day a guy showed up at my aunt’s door with 200 foot long hot dog buns delivered straight from Brooklyn. He didn’t even charge us, which I don’t understand, although if you knew my family stranger things have happened than a guy in coveralls delivering 200 foot long hot buns from Brooklyn on a Saturday for free.

Alabama Hills in Lone Pine, Oh my…

by Amy Ephron
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Alabama Hills Cafe EntryWe were on our way back from Death Valley where the only thing on the side of the road is an occasional purple flower, a bit of brush, a lone cactus or two… My husband suggested that we take a detour to Lone Pine.

“Why?” I asked him.

“Because I went there once,” he said “and it was sort of quaint and charming. And you’d like it?”

“Really?” I made a face. I have a skinny tolerance for western mountain towns.

“And,” he added, “I bet they have a restaurant there. And you know you get cranky when you haven’t eaten.”

He had me there. So I instantly googled best diner in Lone Pine and came up with what sounded like a somewhat charming diner called Alabama Hills Café and Bakery.

Up the mountain we went, into the town that was sort of quaint and charming. But we couldn’t find the restaurant and then he made a random right turn in an effort to turn around and there we were right in front of it. And it was sort of adorable except the clock in the door said 1:58 and there was a sign on the door that said that they closed at two.

I was truly astonished when they let us in. “Why not?” he said. “I’m here and so are you.”

Dr. Jill Biden's Parmesan Chicken Recipe

by Eddie Gehman Kohan
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joebidenWe're so glad we get to eat this for the next four years! -Amy Ephron

A family favorite for Sunday dinners, says the Second Lady...
Vice President Joe Biden loves his wife's Chicken Parmesan, says Dr. Jill Biden, who in a bit of election-year foodie wooing has shared the family recipe with Rachael Ray. It makes a big feast, calling for five pounds of boneless chicken breasts and four cups of Mozzarella cheese for twelve servings.

"Our family loves to get together for Sunday dinners. Our favorite chicken parm #recipe is in @rachael_ray mag  –Dr. B," the Second Lady tweeted on her husband's @VP account.

The recipe appears in Ray's Every Day magazine and online. The Second Lady joined Ray on her TV show in 2010, to demonstrate how to make holiday care packages for members of the troops. First Lady Michelle Obama and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass have also cooked onscreen with Ray. Mrs. Obama was last on Ray's show in September of this year.

Martha Washington's Great Cake

by Martha Washington
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We don't know who would have a pan big enough to make this, but we just had to share.

martha washingtonTake 40 eggs and divide the whites from the yolks and beat them to a froth. Then work 4 pounds of butter to a cream and put the whites of eggs to it a Spoon full at a time till it is well work'd. Then put 4 pounds of sugar finely powdered to it in the same manner then put in the Yolks of eggs and 5 pounds of flour and 5 pounds of fruit. 2 hours will bake it. Add to it half an ounce of mace and nutmeg half a pint of wine and some fresh brandy.

Notes on making Martha Washington's Great Cake:

In making the great cake, Mount Vernon's curatorial staff followed Mrs. Washington's recipe almost exactly. Where the recipe called for 5 pounds of fruit, without specifying which ones, 2 pounds of raisins, 1 pound of currants, and 2 pounds of apples were used. The wine used was cream sherry. Since no pan large enough was available to hold all the batter, two 14 layers were made and stacked (note: the original was one single tall layer). The layers were baked in a 350 degree oven for 1.5 hours. Should be iced with a very stiff egg-white based icing, flavored with rosewater or orange-flower water.

Fancy Artichoke Dip

by Cathy Pollak
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fancy-artichoke-dipWho doesn't love a good dip?! And since it's what I officially call "dip season", why not enjoy the heck out of it. Dip is what we all get together for anyway. Isn't it? Maybe I'm misinformed.

This particular Fancy Artichoke Dip is an elevated version of the classic. It almost looks like there is sausage on top, but it's really wheat bread crumbs. There are many layers of flavor in here, I just kept adding things until it was right.

I know you are going to enjoy this one, it will disappear before your eyes.

Inspired by Pomegranates

by Nancy Ellison
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pomsalsa.jpgWe cannot let November pass without a pomegranate!

I love to cook and I love cookbooks, for they seem to hold sorcerer’s spells between their pages. I don’t use them when I cook, however. 

I may glance over the ingredients list or temperature/time chart, but the book closes when I begin preparation. Nothing I do gets done exactly the same way twice as I cook by feel and what is in my kitchen at the time.

I say this only to encourage you to treat the following recipes casually – more as an inspiration than as a contractual obligation.

Persnickety towards Persimmons? Don’t be…they’re Perfect!

by James Farmer III
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persimmonsProminent throughout the Deep South and up through Virginia to Connecticut and back down towards Florida and west to Kansas and Texas, the common Persimmon, Diospyros virginiana, makes for a Farmer’s favorite with its growth habit, bark, leaf shape, and fruit color…that fabulous color holding the rank somewhere between terra cotta, salmon, apricot, and orange.

“Don’t you EVER bite into a green persimmon…it will turn your mouth INSIDE OUT!!!” That is what Grandmother, Mimi’s grandmother, my great, great grandmother would exclaim about this fruit. Tart and sour, the unripe persimmons are about as useful as a boar’s teat, but the ripe persimmons are lovely, flavorful, and quite delicious. “They’ve got to be DEAD ripe,” according to the grand dame Mimi herself.

Because of their extreme astringency, the persimmon will most often make you pucker, but once the sour cells within the fruit are “bletted" or partially rotted the fruit becomes much more palpable. Killed by cold, the astringent cells actually rot somewhat and cause the fruit to take on a sweeter flavor, and, thus, the old adage that persimmons are not ripe until the first frost. There is a whole chemistry lesson here but I shan’t attempt to explain the how’s and why’s – just know persimmons most often become ripe after the first frost.

A Nice Soup for Fall: Sausage & Bean

by Elaine McCardel
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sausage-soup.jpgThis soup, along with a green salad and some nice bread, is a great dinner for a chilly night.  This soup is loaded with sausage, beans and ditalini pasta.  It's really a pretty traditional "Pasta e Fagioli" soup, but with sausage. I've made the soup with turkey sausage, but you can use any sausage you like.  

I've used dried beans to make the soup.  You can certainly use canned, but if you've never cooked with dried beans, you should try it.  Some people are confused about dried beans and don't know how to soak them and cook them.  But there really is no mystery to it at all – it's very easy.  Soaking simply softens the beans so that they have a shorter cooking time. That's all.

And you don't really even have to soak them.  If you forget to soak them, simply cook them longer. I just throw the beans in a pot and cover them with water and let them soak all day. I drain them, add fresh water and then cook them until they are tender. That's it.

All About Winter Squash

by Russ Parsons
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roastedsquashNever mind the name, these sweet, nutty squash are harvested in the fall. They are called "winter" because their hard shells allow them to be stored for extended periods, and in the days before refrigeration, that was a quality more worth honoring than mere harvest seasonality. The earliest winter squash are just beginning to trickle into the market -- kabocha, butternut and acorn, mostly.

When they’re first picked, they can be a little short on flavor. But after a week or two that changes, particularly for squash such as butternut and kabocha. These benefit from a couple of weeks of "curing" after being harvested, which allows time for enzymes to convert some of their starch into sugar.  Acorns are from another family and do not require curing. They're better bets this early in the season.

How to choose: Look for squash with deep, saturated colors and no soft spots or cracks. The stem should be hard and corky too.

How to store: Keep winter squash in a cool, dark place. You don't need to refrigerate them.

How to prepare: Here's a recipe for happiness during the coming rainy season: Hack off a chunk of winter squash and remove the seeds; place it cut-side down in a pan with just a little water, and roast it at 400 degrees until the whole thing collapses into a sweet, fragrant, slightly caramelized puree.

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A Day at Venice Beach

by Maureen Greer

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Mulled Wine
by Joseph Erdos

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Sip and Savor Apple Cider
by James Farmer III

AppleCider-2Baby, its cold outside! I’ve found myself sippin’ and savorin’ a warm drink of sorts all day – Earl Grey this morning, Orange Zinger later on, the latter two combined and then for my nightcap, this warm cider was just the ticket.

Every year, my fair peach state yields the last of its famed crop towards summer’s end. Afterwards, apples from our...

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Hot Cocktails
by Matt Armendariz

ImageBecause our holiday parties tend to revolve around themes and menus of yesterday (I blame my house, it’s terribly 1950s to the extreme, and no, I wouldn’t change a thing), I wanted to experiment with a category of drinks that are probably better suited to Patagonia rather than Sunny Southern California: hot cocktails.

Regardless of the outside...

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Pumpkin: It's Not Just for Pie
by Susan Russo

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This is unfortunate because pumpkin pie has great range and versatility. In addition to being a great...

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World's Best Pumpkin Pie
by James Moore

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Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce
by Sue Doeden

pumpkinpasta.jpgPasta seems to be my go-to when I’m short on meal-preparation time. Not only does it cook in just minutes, but it pairs nicely with a variety of vegetables and sauces. Last week I made a sauce of...

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Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies Filled with Maple Cream
by Cathy Pollak

pumpkinwhoopieDid you know the "Whoopie pie" is the State Treat of Maine? I had no idea states had designated treats. I'm dying to know what the state treat is here...it better be candy bacon.

While making...

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restaurant news

The Apalachicola Seafood Grill and The Piggly Wiggly
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by Ann Nichols

floridagrill.jpg On the second day of our Florida trip, we dined at one of our favorite, always good, “coming home” restaurants in Apalachicola: The Apalachicola Seafood Grill. Located in the heart of “downtown”...

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Casa Mono
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by Hope Stranger

mono_large.jpg I have yet to go on a date in New York without breaking into a mental sweat.  When scouting for potential mates, I have learned pretentious is better than shallow, irritatingly intelligent better...

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Breakfast at the Barlo Kitchen
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by Lisa Dinsmore

barlologo.jpgBreakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Especially a hot one. Sometimes cereal or a muffin is all I have time for, but those are mere sustenance. They don't make getting out of bed worthwhile. I...

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Atkins Farms Apple Cider Donuts
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