Caramels+Fleur de Sel = LOVE

Cooking, Recipes By December 20, 2010

Recently I ran a riff about Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramels in my e-newsletter. I cautioned that they are too good.  A buttery soft crew made irresistible with fancy French sea salt. Theirs are so delectable, I stopped making them. A couple of readers wrote to complain. Trader Joe’s in their neighborhoods had run out. The supply? Kaput. They…

Chefs Cry! Lucca’s American Salumi Just Too Good

Chefs, Cooking, Restaurants By December 16, 2010

SALUMI TEARS: Cathy Pavlos, chef-owner of LUCCA in Irvine,  made some visiting Italian chefs cry. After they enjoyed a platter of glorious salumi, she told them it was American-made. They didn’t believe her.  She brought out the proof.  Two of them wept. Salt-curing and air-drying meats and sausages is a centuries-old artisanal tradition in Italy. But … American artisanal salumi…

One of the Best Cookbooks for Holiday Gifting

Chefs, Cookbooks, Cooking, Recipes By December 14, 2010

Even the most scurrilous Scrooge on my gift-giving list seems to appreciate the appeal of cookbook gifts. “BAKE! Essential Techniques for Perfect Baking” by Nick Malgieri (Kyle Books, $29.95), 224 pages “This book is meant to have enough easy, straightforward baking recipes that people who haven’t baked before can use successfully,” says author Nick Malgieri, who heads up the baking…

Ming Tsai shares secrets of his Mom's Famous Vinegar Shrimp

Chefs, Recipes, Restaurants By December 10, 2010

Chef Ming Tsai’s latest book is filled with quick and easy weeknight dishes that can be prepared in one pan. Most recipes are short enough to fit on one page and use relatively inexpensive ingredients. They produce delectable concoctions, often showcasing classic Asian fare tweaked with subtle trademark twists. He says that he sometimes “francophiles” a dish, using a smattering…

TV chef Ina Garten has simple advice

Celebrity Interviews, Chefs, Cookbooks By December 8, 2010

Ina Garten’s new book sold out before her signing began. Williams-Sonoma left nothing to chance, organizing myriad fans into tidy lines that snaked out of South Coast Plaza‘s interior onto the sidewalk. The much loved host of the Food Network’s “Barefoot Contessa” thinks the easiest parties are the most fun – not just for the host but for everyone. She…

Sustainable seafood with a twist

Cooking By December 8, 2010

We know seafood is delectable and can play a big part in a healthful diet, but issues concerning non-sustainability are daunting. Sustainability means this resource is either fished or farmed from sources that keep or increase production for the future, without jeopardizing their ecosystems. Modern fishing techniques allow mankind to fish farther and deeper, with greater efficiency. According to the…

A toast to beer with dessert

Restaurants By December 8, 2010

Beer with a burger, or a brewski with bratwurst. These are pairings that come to mind when thinking about classic dishes to pair with beer. But what about desserts? Do you want a beer that complements or contrasts a sugar-spiked treat? With so many layers of flavor in beer – the potential bitterness and richness, sweetness and strength – finding…