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Posts Tagged ‘bon appétit’

Pasta with Swiss Chard & Bacon

In Food, Recipes on October 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm

If you haven’t already checked out Los Angeles Magazine‘s Farmers Market issue, get thee to the newsstands immediately! I have a short item in there about my weekly CSA bag on page 143! While the headline is a bit provocative (“Why I Skip the Market”—I don’t. I go religiously every week), the piece mentions my very favorite part of participating in a CSA, which is a friendly neighborhood challenge I have with a few friends to use everything in the bag each week. This week we were handed an exorbitant amount of Swiss chard.

I remembered a super comforting recipe we ran in Bon Appétit several years ago for Bacon and Swiss Chard Pasta. You sauté some bacon, then sauté onions in bacon fat (do I have your attention yet?) and add Swiss chard until it wilts, then sprinkle with parm and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Toss in fresh fettuccine or linguine. That simple, that delicious. And bye-bye, chard, for this week anyway. For recipe, click HERE.

Night Harvest

In Drink, Out of Town on January 24, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Thank those of you who have emailed about my “Backbreak Mountain” column in the February issue ofBon Appétit magazine! It’s a story that I’ve wanted to write for a very long time now, but I could never have imagined just how much the experience would change the way I felt about a glass of wine. Most of all I am grateful to Doug, John, Elias, David, Uriel, Andy and the Shafer Vineyards team. You guys ROCK. I also wanted to share some photos from that night. Before this experience, I considered my greatest physical accomplishments running the Los Angeles Marathon in close to 90-degree heat and enduring childbirth (in that order). But neither of those events was as physically taxing as picking 11.75 tons of grapes on the side of a mountain in the middle of the night. These photos were taken after about three hours of backbreaking work picking hillside Cabernet Sauvignon in Shafer’s Sunspot vineyard. I lasted about four hours. These guys barely broke a sweat. And then they picked another vineyard. Hard core. Punk rock. And why we love our hillside Cabernet just a little bit more.

Photos by Andy Demsky

Comfort Me with Stir Fry

In Food on October 18, 2010 at 12:04 pm

We’ve got some moody weather on our hands here in LA, and looks like there is more on the way. (Side note: thanks to several childhood years spent in England, I can—and do—talk ad nauseum about the weather, an endlessly fascinating topic.) To warm our spirits, Mr. Foodinista took to wok the other night and made this rich and satisfying bowl of Beef, Shiitake, and Snow Pea Stir Fry from the October issue of Bon Appétit. I’m currently leafing through cookbooks for inspiration for a something braised tonight. So far, THIS is looking like the winner…

Peach Tarragon Bellini

In Drink, Recipes on September 3, 2010 at 11:29 am

I’ve had a really good morning in the Twittersphere. Three men I respect greatly, Bruce Schoenfeld (wine editor of Travel & Leisure), Jason Wilson (spirits columnist at The Washington Post and author of forthcoming book Boozehound) and Los Angeles food blogger Tony C. (of SinoSoul) all tweeted about my Herbal Cocktails story in the current September Restaurant Issue issue of Bon Appetit! While the story is not up on the website, you can still grab a copy of the mag on newsstands—and believe me, you’ll want to. The issue is loaded with goodness from the country’s top restaurant including desserts to die for from Momofuku’s pastry chef, like Chocolate Malt Cake and the infamous and aptly named Crack Pie (it is that good, people). And here’s a little bonus not in the issue—the recipe I developed for the Peach Tarragon Bellini mentioned in the story. Cheers!

The Foodinista’s Peach Tarragon Bellini
The classic Bellini gets an herbal kick from fresh tarragon.

Makes 4-6

1/2 generous cup ripe peach slices, peeled
10-12 tarragon leaves
1 750 ml bottle Prosecco

Puree peaches and tarragon in blender. Add 1 ounce peach/tarragon purée to each flute. Top each with 4 ounces prosecco.

Zucchini Blossom Frittata

In Food, Recipes on August 10, 2010 at 5:46 pm

A friend once told me that few words send a man running out of the kitchen faster than “frittata.” Men, he insisted, wanted their eggs free of things like asparagus or red peppers. Frittatas were for baby showers, he said, and grown men wanted nothing to do with either. I must have subconsciously bought into it because until last night I’d never dared make a frittata for my husband. But then there is the issue of squash blossoms. I can’t help myself when I see them.

Usually I put them in quesadillas or risotto, but I haven’t been able to get this Zucchini Blossom Frittata I’d seen in Bon Appétit a couple summers ago out of my head. Turns out my husband loves frittata, mostly because he didn’t know what the word meant or that it was supposed to send him screaming from the room. This particular recipe is a winner because it can be made in 10 minutes on top of the stove—the time in which it took Mr. Foodinista to perfectly grill some sea trout out back. And frittata leftovers are fantastic for lunch the next day!

Zucchini Blossom Frittata

Adapted from Bon Appétit

20 zucchini blossoms, stems removed (about 3 ounces)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (original recipe calls for piment d’Espelette or cayenne pepper, but I love the smokiness of the Spanish stuff)

7 large eggs, whisked to blend

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley

Gently rinse and dry zucchini blossoms. Preheat broiler.

Heat oil in 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; reduce heat to medium and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add blossoms and sauté just until wilted, turning often, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt and pimenton.

Spread blossoms in skillet in single layer; increase heat to medium-high. Add eggs and cook until beginning to set around edges, lifting frittata with heatproof rubber spatula and allowing eggs to flow underneath. Continue cooking until eggs are softly set, about 5 minutes.

Transfer skillet to broiler; broil until top of frittata is set, 1 minute. Slide frittata onto platter. Sprinkle with parsley. [Serve alongside Mr. Foodinista’s picture-perfect grilled sea trout!]

Bourbon-Molasses Chicken Drumsticks

In Food on May 30, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Check back tomorrow for pics from last night’s adventures in Cinespia. Really and truly one of the most fun—and delicious—evenings in memory. In the meantime, here’s a taste of the main event: grilled Bourbon-Molasses Chicken Drumsticks from the July 2004 issue of Bon Appétit, the first issue in which my name appears on the masthead coincidentally. The chicken’s raison d’être was to complement the superb whiskey sours our friends Lizzie and Matt made for our picnic last night, and its bourbon-based marinade was a grand slam. In fact, these drumsticks were so damn good that we are repeating again tonight!

Mr. Foodinista simmered the glaze earlier in the day:

Here are the drumsticks on the grill—they go for about 25 minutes before you brush with glaze:

And the finished product. Bon Appétit!

Best Buffalo Hot Wings. Period.

In Food, Recipes on March 1, 2010 at 8:16 am

My mother grew up in Buffalo, a town that is serious about wings and hockey. So yesterday’s nail-biting Canada vs USA seemed the perfect occasion for hot wings, but since I’m 2,000+ miles away from Duff’s I had to make my own using what turned out the be the most INSANE wing recipe EVER. I haven’t had wings this freaking delicious since my last visit to Buffalo six years ago for my grandmother’s funeral. It was April and snowing and my mom, cousins, aunts and uncles all headed to Duff’s for beef on weck and wings. The week prior I’d heard from Bon Appétit about an opportunity for a senior editorial position—a dream job, but I was married to another dream job at the Los Angeles Times Magazine. On the plane ride home from Buffalo to LAX I leafed through the April 2004 issue of Bon Appétit and landed on the back page, an interview with Buffalo’s own Wolf Blitzer talking about his favorite hometown eats (Bocce’s – best pizza on the planet, Anderson’s for frozen custard). I took it as a sign. Bon Appétit!

Bruce’s BEST EVER Hot Wings

I adapted this recipe from my friend Trisha’s incredibly gifted husband, Bruce. I also reached out to my Aunt Holly in Buffalo and my mom for added input, and everyone agrees that Duff’s wings are what we aspire to—super hot and super saucy. My proportions reflect this sauce to wing ratio, but the method is all Bruce and it’s a winner. I’m serious – these are going to be better than your wildest dreams. His secret? He says…

It’s always a recipe that I ‘wing’ and stick to no script. I think the secret to great wings is the same quality that makes good french fries a cut above, you have to ‘twice bake/fry’ to get the crisp texture. When you fry/toss in hot sauce/bake/toss in hot sauce/serve, this also adheres the sauce to the wing.  It adds up to a lip smacking experience that my Buffalo friends would be proud to gnaw. I always use Frank’s Louisianna hot sauce, I mean c’mon. Add tabasco according to the present company and always have copious amounts of celery and blue cheese dip on hand to finish them off. Never had a complaint.

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Tabasco, to taste (more is more!)

Salt, to taste

12 ounce bottle Frank’s Red Hot Original Sauce (make sure it’s Frank’s Original and not Frank’s Wing Sauce which has a bunch of additives and is not as good)

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

Vegetable oil for frying

3 lbs chicken wings

Celery sticks

Make blue cheese dressing (recipe follows) and chill while cooking wings.

To make sauce, mix first seven ingredients together in a large bowl, and then divide between two bowls. Set aside.

In a stock pot, heat 2 inches vegetable oil until it reaches 380 degrees. Cut off chicken wing tips, and halve chicken wings at joint. Using a large spider, carefully lower half the chicken wings into the oil and fry for 3 minutes. Remove with spider and toss in one bowl of sauce.

Remove from sauce and place on rack of broiler pan. Allow oil to return to 380 degrees. Repeat with second half of wings. Place pan 4-5 inches from broiler and cook for 5 minutes, turn wings over and broil another five minutes until crispy and golden.

Remove from oven and submerge wings in second bowl of sauce. Remove from sauce w/ spider and serve with blue cheese dip and celery sticks.

The Foodinista’s Blue Cheese Dip

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (the stronger and stinkier, the better)

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

Mix all ingredients together and chill well before serving.

First Taste of Fall

In Food on October 12, 2009 at 8:33 am

american cheese

For those of you who are fortunate enough to live in a clime where seasons exist and leaves change colors, I ask you to please indulge me. Here in Los Angeles, we felt our first nip in the air this weekend with temperatures in the low 70s and lovely overcast mornings. Suddenly all I wanted was fall food, specifically Americana in flavor. So on Saturday morning, my sister and I went to the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills and asked Raffi to select several American surprises. None of the now ubiquitous Humboldt Fog, which I’m told is a bit passé, but instead a gorgeous ashen cube of Nocturne goat cheese from a Korean cheesemaker, the talented Soyoung Scanlan, in Petaluma. So tart and creamy and mushroomy. Then there was a KILLER raw-milk gooey cheese from Meadow Creek Dairy in Virgina, and finally a delicate hard cheese called Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Cheese Company in Wisconsin. We also grabbed a wedge of Grafton Vermont Cheddar for the main event: burgers.


Our friends Booth and Adam brought over Nancy Silverton’s preferred burger blend of ground beef from Huntington Meats and excellent buttery buns from Thee’s Bakery—both in the Farmer’s Market at Third/Fairfax. To go with the burgers, I tried the Thyme-Roasted Apples and Onions from the new November issue of Bon Appétit. It’s a great side dish to serve with a rich main, as the apples and onions feel very bright and comforting.

apples onions

For dessert, we made the Harvest Pear Crisp with Candied Ginger, also from the November issue of Bon Appétit, with some Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream. I love the coarsely chopped almonds in the topping. God bless America! (Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving Day, Canada.)

pear crisp

Texas Beef Brisket Chili

In Food on October 4, 2009 at 10:42 pm

texas brisket chili

My sister and I have both been knocked out by a wicked cold for days now, and have been craving some serious comfort food. Last night we made a pot of my favorite chili, a recipe that bills itself as Texas Beef Brisket Chili since it’s all meat and no beans. It simmers in the oven for almost four hours, and the whole house smells incredible. However, the best part of this recipe is a surprise ingredient that I can’t recall ever having encountered in any other Texas chili—and that’s butternut squash. The recipe, from last year’s October issue of Bon Appétit, is from “The Sausage King” Bruce Aidells and it is perfect as written. I like to garnish with avocado, cilantro and a little grated cheese. This batch accidentally included a most scandalous ingredient, and that’s Spaten Oktoberfest beer instead of, say, Negra Modelo. I don’t even know how a lone bottle of Spaten got into the fridge. Weird. We are not beer bigots by any means, it’s just that we usually gravitate toward American and Mexican brews. But no complaints. In fact, this was one of the better batches I’ve made of this chili. Prost!

beef onionschile garlic pastechiles tomatoes beefspaten

Frijoles Fantastico

In Food on September 30, 2009 at 12:14 pm


Last night my friend Katie—whose day job is managing editor at Bon Appétit—had several SUPERB moments on Hell’s Kitchen. She totally stole the show in the opening challenge! But I’ve gotta tell you, she’s been stealing the show all week at our house. On Saturday night, she brought over some frijoles refritos for my sister’s birthday bbq that we’ve been obsessing over all week, which have just the right hit of spiciness to them—such a diversion from the usual bland frijoles. We’ve had them in breakfast burritos, lunch burritos, dinner burritos…with cheese, with Spanish rice, tabasco. I kind of can’t believe that refried beans can be THIS GOOD. Katie riffed on an Emeril recipe, but like any great cook made the recipe her own with some genius detours.

In addition to the bay leaf, she added a broken-in half chile de arbol, a sprig of oregano, a few whole peppercorns, and a smashed garlic clove to the water when she cooked the beans. The recipe calls for 3/4 cup of bacon drippings or lard, which is A LOT. Katie notes:

A word about the bacon fat. I doubled the bean recipe and then some (I used 5 cups dried beans rather than 2, and multiplied everything accordingly-ish), but I still ended up using less than 3/4 cup bacon fat. I started with about 3/4 cup (they sell it at Larchmont Larder), but it was just so much when it melted; it seemed like I’d be deep-frying the onions and garlic rather than sauteeing them, so I spooned off some of the fat.