May 24, 2017
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Chief fishmonger Francisco Hernandez broke down this Columbia River king salmon at Providence in Los Angeles, Calif. ( Los Angeles Times photo )

Using the whole fish: Hollywood seafood restaurant makes an art of limiting waste

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LOS ANGELES — There was a rhythm to the kitchen on a recent Thursday afternoon as cooks prepared for the evening’s service at Providence, the Hollywood seafood restaurant that’s been No. 1 for the last few years on Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants List.

The kitchen is a finely tuned machine, a model of efficiency. In one corner, a pastry chef made sakuramochi, folding pastel pink rice cake and red bean paste around house-pickled cherry leaves. A cook who’d just harvested edible flowers from the restaurant’s roof garden divided them into portions, each to serve as a garnish for the night’s dishes.

“That garden changes the way we do things, and a big part of the inspiration was to eliminate waste,” said Michael Cimarusti, Providence’s chef and owner. When they’d order flowers from a farmer, they’d need to cull through the order to pull what they wanted, and the rest would be wasted. By growing the plants on the roof, cooks pick only what they use each day.

Get your grill on

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I know some readers of this column grill year-round. Some of you because you live in temperate climates, where winter just means putting on a light jacket to throw some burgers on, and some of you because you are die-hard grilling machines, who would chisel the ice off your charcoal briquettes to light a fire outdoors.

I fall into neither camp, though I am enough of a grilling buff that as soon as the weather seems remotely cooperative, I grab those tongs and send my husband, Gary, out to fill up the propane tank (and yes, I know that for you hard-core grillers, the fact that I’m not using charcoal or hardwood makes me a pretender at best. But there’s a jolly, ample expanse between culinary perfection and everyday dinners, and I like to wander about freely in that open space).

The best ways to cook asparagus (and other great tips)

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Asparagus is the deal breaker: Strawberries are pretty, and tender lettuce is nice. But the arrival of fresh asparagus is the sign that spring is official.

It’s also a deal breaker on cooking. With really fresh asparagus, boiling or steaming isn’t the best way to go. Its grassy flavor is better with methods that concentrate the flavor — roasting, or pan-frying, even microwaving. It’s perfect for really fast cooking. Overcooked asparagus is limp. Good asparagus needs just a little crunch.

Craft beer is bigger than ever

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Another year, another 1,000 new breweries.

That’s right, just one year after surpassing an historic mark of 4,131 set in 1873, the U.S. now has 5,301 breweries.

Sweet season: Strawberry dessert inspired by cannoli

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I developed this recipe to take advantage of strawberry season. Some of you are naturally scratching your head. “Strawberry season? Name a time of year that isn’t strawberry season.” And it certainly can feel that way.

Strawberries are grown in all 50 states and, depending on the state, the season can be as short as a few weeks or as long as 11 months. But the heart of the strawberry season — the sweet spot of the year when you can count on finding juicy, delicious and locally grown strawberries at your supermarket or farmer’s market — is April through June.

Meat mimics: Plant butchers use charcuterie techniques to re-create flavors

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MIAMI — When Ryan Bauhaus first experimented with faux meats, he fixated on re-creating that taste of blood, settling on a tomato paste blend to mimic the acidic, iron flavor. For the fat, Bauhaus boiled down mushrooms until he got the desired texture similar to the fat cap on a roast.

Calorie counting, gluten banning and tofu bean patties aren’t happening at Bauhaus’ Atlas Meat-Free Delicatessen in Miami. On the contrary, there’s six ounces of peppery pastrami and two kinds of kraut on top of the Rachel on Rye sandwich. The Krispy Fried Chk’n sandwich is served with a creamy garlic aioli on a doughy pretzel bun. It’s breaded and dipped in cashew buttermilk that turns into a golden crunch when it’s deep fried, melting the house-made soy milk cheddar on top.

Embrace spring with a green pilaf

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Just as daffodils, early tulips and crocuses are heralds of spring, so is the Spring Green Pilaf.

The basmati rice dish is loaded with asparagus, leeks, edamame and pistachios, and if that doesn’t make it verdant enough it gets an extra zip of color and flavor from dill.

Boulevard Brewing Company rolling into town

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Among a dizzying array of new craft beer arriving with regularity comes a brand with seniority — Boulevard Brewing Company.

Founded in 1989, this Kansas City brewery has weathered a variety of challenges to emerge, survive and prosper. Beginning this week, a selection of Boulevard’s brands will be available here, making Wisconsin its 38th state in distribution.

Praise the braise: Tender lamb topped with crisp greens

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This is a good, old-fashioned showstopper of an entree, the kind of dish where you should not pretend to be bashful — “What, this old thing? I just threw it together from stuff in the fridge” — but rather take your accolades with modesty and grace.

I have been playing around with slow/low braises, with a quick blast of high heat at the end to form a crust. I am also a sucker for almost any kind of protein (from a sliced roast to a filet of fish) finished with a pile of herby greens. The contrast of warm and cool, rich and fresh, tender and crisp — it gets me every time, and I hope you’ll agree. If you want a deeper flavor, rub the lamb with the marinade, loosely tent with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Bring the lamb to room temperature before cooking.

Anything goes when pairing potatoes and herbs

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Potatoes never go out of style, nor do herbs. So when they are combined, you get au courant yet down-to-earth balancing flavors.

Whether the potatoes are baked, roasted, stuffed, fried, boiled and buttered, mashed or smashed, herbs are fantastic team players, and they don’t even have to be fresh and verdant. Dried thyme, rosemary and oregano can be roasted with new white potatoes and dried dill or parsley work just fine in casseroles.

Barrel-aging is not getting old: Brewers taking the time to find new flavors

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As if beer and barrels weren’t already synonymous, brewers are increasingly reinventing the role barrels play in brewing. Barrel-aged beers have captured a loyal audience that is growing in its appreciation and numbers every year.

In turn, craft brewers large and small continue to expand production capability to reward the enthusiasm. By seeking out barrels used in aging bourbon, whiskey, tequila, rum and wine, brewers continue to find new and irresistible flavor components. They’re also creating new and varied beers to put into those barrels.

Something fishy going on: Faith traditions amplify Friday night fries

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A Friday night fish fry is often a social occasion featuring fried fish, French fries and coleslaw.

For those adhering to their faith tradition during the season of Lent, it is also a moral and spiritual obligation.

Try meatballs bursting with the flavors of Southeast Asia

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Though students at The Culinary Institute of America face a seemingly endless to-do list, central to their course work is recipe and menu development. At the CIA, food is life, and even the best-managed restaurant is nothing without flavorful, exciting and innovative recipes.

A recent standout is this recipe for Hanoi Pork Meatballs with Hoisin-Peanut Dipping Sauce, which is ideal if you’re hosting friends and family.

A drink worthy of the Oscars

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By The Culinary Institute of America

Whether you are a film fanatic or just in it for the gowns, awards season is a no-brainer excuse for a theme party. Hollywood glitz and glamour offers the perfect opportunity to pull out your fancy Champagne flutes and costume jewelry for an affair to remember.

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When it comes to hosting theme parties, the Flynn family should get an Oscar.

With ten children and a catering company, the Flynns are always helping someone celebrate something. “We celebrate seven birthdays in 46 days. The kids all pick their birthday menus and cakes and help with the cooking,” says Annette Flynn.

Beers to You: Falling for Toppling Goliath

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Decorah, Iowa, can now be added to the list of great beer brewing cities in America.

With a population of just over 8,000, its definition as a city might be a stretch, but the quality of Toppling Goliath Brewing Company’s beers has built a following that is, well, huge.

Drink them in: Cherry cupcakes have ‘old fashioned’ flavor

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This old fashioned cherry cupcake is just the thing for Valentine’s Day. I’ve updated a cake that my mother used to make for my sisters and me when we were children with all the flavors of a bourbon old fashioned. The rosy pink color of the cake immediately brings to mind the Feast of Saint Valentine.

When I drink old fashioneds, I seldom add cherries, but the cherries are essential to this cake. The cake is colored a beautiful rosy pink by the addition of maraschino cherry juice and a generous amount of chopped cherries that add texture and moisture to the light white cake. The cake itself tastes like the best vanilla cake you have ever ate with a soft nod to the maraschino cherries. A fragrant orange-bourbon buttercream tops the cupcakes and completes the adult “old fashioned” flavor.

Make your love a cake

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Have you been on the receiving end of a heart-shaped box? Maybe it was filled with jewelry, but if you’re lucky, it was filled with chocolate. And while a box of candy is a tried-and-true way to say “I love you,” we might know an even better way.

The Culinary Institute of America’s Chocolate Tower Cake is like one big piece of candy for your special someone, with chocolate on the outside and silky caramel on the inside. And there is no better way to express your appreciation and love than with the gift of homemade. Especially if it’s chocolate.

Simmer time: These soups will warm your bones and your heart

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No matter where you live, January requires comfort. Many of us suffer from PHL (post-holiday letdown), some of us feel beaten by broken New Year’s resolutions, and others struggle with cold feet. Literally.

Soup to the rescue, I say. Simmering cauldrons of goodness pay off in spades — from their homey aromas to some substantial nourishment. I like to spend wintry Sunday afternoons making large batches of various soups, then packaging them in to-go containers for family members. Honestly, I don’t know who benefits more, the cook or the recipients. Plus, cooking gets me out of snow-shoveling duties.

Counting croutons: Restaurants tally items for calorie rules

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NEW YORK — How might a bread basket for the table be counted under America’s new calorie posting rules? What about seasonal items, croutons for salads, or pizza that’s cut into squares?

Restaurant and grocery chains scrambling to post calorie counts on their menus by spring have peppered the Food and Drug Administration with queries that offer a window — often complex, occasionally comic — into the ingredient riddles they are trying to solve.

Breakfast
Lunch
Appetizer
Dinner
Dessert
Beverage





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