Category Archives: Chefs

Republique’s Fig-Tahini Cookies

These fig-tahini cookies are not only pretty to look at, but have a wondrous chewy texture.
These fig-tahini cookies are not only pretty to look at, but have a wondrous chewy texture.

Mochi, gummi bears, springy noodles, and ideal chocolate chip cookies.

What do they have in common?

A certain chewiness that I can’t resist.

And “Fig-Tahini Cookies” possess that ideal attribute in abundance.

It’s evident not only in the consistency of the cookie, itself, but also in the chopped dried figs hidden throughout.

The recipe is from “Baking at République: Masterful Techniques and Recipes” (Lorena Jones Books, 2019), of which I received a review copy.

The cookbook is by Margarita Manzke, co-owner of Republique restaurant and bakery in Los Angeles. The book, written with former Los Angeles Times food writer Betty Hallock, features all the favorite pastries, cookies, cakes and pies from this fabulous bakery that’s a must-stop whenever my husband and I drive to Los Angeles.

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Maida Heatter’s Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ripples

Made with a chocolate dough and a peanut butter dough, no two look quite exactly alike.
Made with a chocolate dough and a peanut butter dough, no two look exactly alike.

In my household, there is a clear division of labor.

My husband is responsible for mowing our minuscule lawn, unclogging drains, and figuring out which smoke detector in the house is causing that incessant beeping.

Me?

I make sure we always have a stash of home-made cookies on hand.

It’s an important job, and one that I take seriously.

Oh sure, my husband will indulge my whims to bake cookies with ingredients such as cardamom, rose water, chicharrones, corn nuts, or five-spice — as long as I don’t neglect the mandatory chocolate on a regular basis.

That’s why “Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ripples” appealed so much. After all, when I practically have to hide all the mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from him until after Halloween, I knew this cookie would be right up his alley.

It’s a recipe from “Cookies Are Magic: Classic Cookies, Brownies, Bars, and More.” Have truer words ever been printed?

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“Cooking For Good Times” — Sort Of

Quinoa with cauliflower, olives, oranges, and herbs -- a dish for good times and more challenging ones.
Quinoa with cauliflower, olives, oranges, and herbs — a dish for good times and more challenging ones.

Ah, yes, it seems like a lifetime ago — though it was merely a few bewilderingly months back — that I was contemplating a trip to Chicago later this year.

How I looked forward to taking one of those architecture-themed boat ride tours on the lake that I’d heard so many good things about. How my husband was salivating at the thought of deep-dish pizza and loaded Chicago-style hot dogs. How I had looked forward to trying one of the restaurants by chefs Stephanie Izard and Paul Kahan. How I had already circled on my calendar the exact week I should start trying to snag a coveted reservation for my bucket-list meal at Alinea.

So much for that.

I have friends who swear they’re curtailing any traveling whatsoever until a vaccine is available to defeat this deadly virus. Me? I can’t say that getting on an airplane holds any appeal for the foreseeable future. If I do venture out of my area when restrictions are finally lifted, I think the car is the way to go, because I wouldn’t want to be too far from home with so many ifs, ands or buts still looming on this precarious horizon.

So for now, I’ll just experience Chicago vicariously, through Kahan’s newest cookbook, “Cooking for Good Times: Super Delicious, Super Simple” (Lorena Jones, 2019) by Kahan.

There’s a sweet irony to the title, isn’t there? Because many would say that we as far from good times as it gets.

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It Looks Like Hell, But…

Don't let the blackened appearance keep you from trying this incredible charred cabbage dish.
Don’t let the blackened appearance keep you from trying this incredible charred cabbage dish.

…Yes, it tastes like pure heaven.

Consider this the ultimate ugly-delicious dish.

“Charred Cabbage with Miso and Lime” is by Portland, OR chef Jenn Louis. It’s from her cookbook, “The Book of Greens: A Cook’s Compendium of 40 Varieties, from Arugula to Watercress, with More Than 175 Recipes” (Ten Speed Press, 2017).

I love deeply charred cabbage because hitting it with fierce heat brings out its inherent sweetness as it caramelizes.

As such, I’m always looking for new ways to flavor it. This one especially appealed at this time because all it takes is red miso, butter, and lime — all of which I had handy already, which is no small miracle these days.

This recipe was originally intended for one green cabbage, cut into 8 wedges, and cooked in two pans. I actually used an arrowhead cabbage, an heirloom variety, that’s indeed shaped like a pointy arrowhead or cone. Grown by Pescadero’s Fifth Crow Farm, it tastes like green cabbage, but is just a tad sweeter.

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Enjoy A Warm Chocolate Lava Cake — In 40 Seconds

Would you believe it only takes 40 seconds from fridge to microwave to dig into this perfect, warm chocolate lava cake?
Would you believe it only takes 40 seconds from fridge to microwave to dig into this perfect, warm chocolate lava cake?

I’ve made the original chocolate lava cake many times. The warm little cake with the contrasting gooey, molten chocolate center that became a sensation was purportedly invented by Michelin-starred New York chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten when he accidentally removed a cake from the oven too soon.

It’s not a difficult cake to make, but it does take a little practice to know when exactly to pull it from the oven so that the center is not overdone, rendering it merely a uniform chocolate cake through and through.

Pots & Co. not only takes the guesswork out of that, it but alleviates all the work — period.

The London-based company makes Chocolate Fudge Lava Cakes that come ready made. All you need do is pop one into the oven for 12 minutes or into the microwave for 40 seconds to get perfect results.

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