Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

Turmeric Grilled Sea Bass For The Win This Summer

Take a taste of Cassia restaurant's turmeric grilled sea bass -- in the comfort of your own home.

Take a taste of Cassia restaurant’s turmeric grilled sea bass — in the comfort of your own home.

 

There was a time when folks poked fun of the dining scene in Los Angeles.

Not anymore. Now, it’s not only the darling of food fanatics looking for authentic ethnic cuisines and exciting push-the-envelope places, but it’s also the location of choice for chefs around the country looking to open new ventures. That includes: San Francisco’s Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco-Mexico City Chef Gabriela Cámara, New York’s David Chang, New York’s Christina Tosi, and New York-Mexico City’s Enrique Olvera.

“EAT. COOK. L.A.: Recipes from the City of Angels: A Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, captures Los Angeles’ dynamic dining scene with stories and 100 recipes from some of the area’s biggest names. Find everything from the “Egg Slut” by, yes, Eggslut; “Tomato Salad with Crispy Potatoes and Whipped Feta” from Sqirl; “Chanterelle Lasagna with English Peas and Parmesan Pudding” from Lucques; “Chinois Lamb Chops with Cilantro Mint Vinaigrette” from Spago; “Adobo Fried Rice” from Republique; and “Chocolate Sesame Cake” from Kismet.

EatCookLA

The book is by Aleksandra Crapanzano, a screenwriter and food writer based in New York, who is a regular food columnist for the Wall Street Journal.

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Martha Stewart’s New England Fish Sandwiches

Pile on the creamy, tasty slaw on this New England fish sandwich.

Pile on the creamy, tasty slaw on this New England fish sandwich.

 

When I was a pre-teen, one of my favorite things to eat was a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish.

Hey, don’t judge. I was very young.

(And why the heck the French term for “fillet” is used for this fast-food item is anyone’s guess.)

There was just something so comforting about that squishy bun that held a golden square of fried fish smothered in tangy tartar sauce.

I even remember how my best friend and I, chilled to the bone as we hoofed it to the mall one blustery, foggy, Saturday afternoon, decided to make a pit-stop at Mickey D’s to get a a fish sandwich to-go. As we continued our trudge in wind and cold (OK, no knee-deep snow), we alternated bites of the sandwich between the two of us. And darned if its warmth didn’t fill us with the fortitude necessary to brave the sales racks at the stores.

Older, wiser, and hopefully making more healthful food choices now, I don’t even remember the last time I ate one of those sandwiches.

But thanks to Martha Stewart, I can now partake of a much better version of it.

Yes, consider this a home-made version a Fillet-O-Fish with a bona fide Martha seal of approval.

Martha Stewart Grilling

“New England Fish Sandwiches” is from her new cookbook, “Martha Stewart’s Grilling: 125+ Recipes for Gatherings Large and Small” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy.

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Gabriela Cámara’s Fabulous Tinga De Pollo

Chef Gabriela Cámara take on a home-style chicken-onion filling for tacos or enchiladas.

Chef Gabriela Cámara take on a home-style chicken-onion filling for tacos or enchiladas.

 

It may be less than 30 minutes long, but “A Tale of Two Kitchens,” the Netflix documentary about Chef Gabriela Cámara, will stay with you far longer.

Of course, it will make you very, very hungry, too.

The film recounts how Cámara opened her first restaurant Contramar in Mexico City in 1998, just after graduating from college and with no professional restaurant experience, herself. She just wanted to create a beach cafe with food that would make people happy. It was such a smashing success that 17 years later, she came to San Francisco to open her second restaurant, Cala, along with its sidekick, Tacos Cala, to great acclaim.

“A Tale of Two Kitchens” is a look at both restaurants, one in the United States, the other in Mexico, and the culture they share. Cámara doesn’t shy away from talking about the dichotomy that now exists, as Mexican immigrants are being vilified in the United States  yet the popularity of Mexican food in this country has never been higher.

Cámara has notably taken the chance to hire convicts to work at Cala, giving them not only new skills, but a second chance. At Contramar, her staff is so loyal that many have worked for her for more than a decade, and a few are even second-generation, as a son is shown in the film excited to work alongside his father as a server.

My Mexico City Kitchen

She has no intention of slowing down anytime soon, either. She’s currently working on a new restaurant, Onda in Santa Monica, with Chef Jessica Koslow of the wildly popular Sqirl in Los Angeles. And she was recently named a cultural advisor to the Mexican president.

This year, Cámara also debuted her first cookbook, “My Mexico City Kitchen: Recipes and Convictions” (Lorena Jones/Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy.

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Going With The Grain Part II: Smoked Barley with Blistered Tomatoes & Burrata

Milky sweet burrata is the crowning touch on this smoked barley-charred tomato salad.

Milky sweet burrata is the crowning touch on this smoked barley-charred tomato salad.

 

If you’re a pyromaniac when it comes to cooking, this new cookbook is surely going to stoke your desire to light things up.

“Thank You for Smoking: Fun and Fearless Recipes Cooked with a Whiff of Wood Fire on Your Grill or Smoker” (Ten Speed Press) is not only a cleverly titled cookbook, but a very creative one, too.

The book, of which I received a review copy, is by Austin-based Paula Disbrowe, a grilling expert and veteran cookbook writer.

There are 100 recipes included. What’s really fun is that most go way beyond the norm of just throwing a steak or piece of chicken on a grill or in a smoker. Instead, Disbrowe really opens your eyes to possibilities you may never have even considered.

Just get a load of recipes such as “Smoked Arbol Honey,” “Dirty Martini with Smoked Castelvetrano Olives,” “Smoked Onion and Cheddar Tart,” Beef Tenderloin with Smoked Garlic Aioli,” and “Burnt Marshmallow Krispies.”

Thank You For Smoking

With its luxurious cream center that spills out of a ball of mozzarella, burrata is one of my favorite cheeses. So I just had to take a go at “Smoked Barley with Blistered Tomatoes & Burrata.”

Is it really worth it to set up a smoker and spend about 35 minutes to smoke barley grains?

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Going With the Grain Part I: Fig, Walnut & Freekeh Salad

The two F's: figs and freekeh.

The two F’s: figs and freekeh.

 

WTF.

As in what the freekeh?

If you don’t know this ancient grain, summer is the perfect time to give it a try.

It’s a lot like bulgur, except that freekeh is roasted young green whole wheat kernels, while the former is cracked, hulled parboiled whole wheat kernels. As such, bulgur cooks in a flash, while freekeh takes about 20 minutes or so. The tiny grains of both are packed with fiber and protein, and cook up with with a slight chewy texture. I think freekeh tastes just a little toastier.

Grains like these, which are staples of Middle Eastern cuisines, make incredible summer salads or side dishes. You’re probably already familiar with bulgar in tabbouleh salads. Freekeh can be used in the same way.

Enjoy it in this tasty, texture-tantalizing “Fig, Walnut & Freekeh Salad.”

SaffronintheSouks

The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Saffron in the Souks: Vibrant recipes from the heart of Lebanon” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy. It’s by John Gregory-Smith, a food and travel writer who specializes in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine.

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