I read cookbooks for fun. :)

  • Location: Greater Los Angeles
  • Favorite foods: Down-home comfort foods made over with fresh and light ingredients. It's hard to pick just a few favorites.
  • Last bite on earth: All the stuff I force myself to eat in moderation right now: fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, bacon, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and probably a couple steaks. And a strawberry smoothie to wash it all down.

Latest Comments

Are the Rules of Big-Pot Blanching True?

I just blanched a crapload of kale and had these various thoughts myself. Very nice analysis! The ice bath is the most important, which I have discovered through trial and error. It's really incredible how vibrant green they stay. I didn't really worry about getting the water back to a boil as I was doing such volume, but the kale didn't seem to mind. I chopped/froze what I had and it is beautiful and green when I pull it out to use in pasta, etc. Love blanching! Although one time I made the mistake of blanching basil leaves trying to preserve their color in a dip. Blech, black basil leaves. Sad.

Chain Reaction: Eureka!

I love Eureka burger, have been there many times at the Claremont and Redlands locations. The fig jam burger is my favorite but I've tried many of the others and they are all good. The combinations are really tasty and they do work together. It sounds like the Santa Barbara one is a dud but my experiences have only been great. I usually stuff myself silly between the good beer and burgers, no room for anything else!

Los Angeles: A Fine Fusion Burger at Abricott

Try the kimchi pork belly sandwich! So, so good. Although a little light on the kimchi. They also have a lovely little room for private parties of 10-ish.

Cook the Book: 'The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook'

I made baked pork chops nestled in potatoes, leeks, onions, carrots with a balsamic-mustard sauce.

Cook the Book: Basic French Lentils

This recipe is fantastic - I just used water and it still tasted awesome. Really great.

Taste Test: Every Flavor of Chobani Greek Yogurt

Nonfat dairy products are a complete waste of time. 0% Greek yogurt tastes exactly the same as regular yogurt, so what's the point? Trader Joe's and more natural food-oriented stores have full-fat or 2%.

What Should an In-N-Out Virgin Order?

Double-double is overkill in my opinion. Get a double-single (two patties, one slice cheese) and it's perfect. Grilled onions. And then go animal-style with the fries. Get a shake if you want but be warned that you might have the worst stomach-ache afterwards. That is a lot of dairy.

What's Your Favorite Kashi Cereal?

Is this a veiled market research ploy?

For what it's worth, I actually like the autumn wheat squares better than any of these varieties. Go Lean Crunch and my digestive tract are not on the best of terms. Soooo much fiber.

Ask A Bartender: What's The Best Tip You've Ever Gotten?

Ooh, tipping in frequent flyer miles is smart. Duly noted.

Grilled meat in Manhattan

Ilili in the Flatiron district is amazing and definitely date-worthy. They have some kebabs and such.

Mark Bittman's Brownies

Phil, maybe it was the vanilla making it seem too sweet? When I reduced the vanilla I liked it much better.

Mark Bittman's Brownies

Having Bittman's How to Cook Everything already, I made this as-is and it came out too gooey for my tastes. The next time I added a touch more flour and 1/2 tsp baking powder, and the brownies were perfect (I live at high elevation - 4k ft). I also reduced the vanilla just a bit. Cooking time was more like 30 min at high elevation with a glass pan.

This recipe is for an 8x8 pan. It doubles well too.

Punishable proceedures

Well, I did try to make poached eggs in the microwave. It failed. And one time I undercooked my hard boiled eggs and tried to finish it off in the micro. Gave myself a pretty good burn right on my gums. I was sober while doing it too.

Punishable proceedures

I just read this really interesting piece on Poor Man's Feast about how her mother cooked "angry breakfast eggs". Read all the way down to what the mother does at the end - that would be a punishable sin for me! (And no, not a blog shill, I honestly really enjoyed the writing!)

"Copout" ingredients...."crutches"

If we want to talk college cop-outs, my college had potatoes in everything. Could not avoid them! I dropped 10 pounds instantly after graduating because I wasn't eating so many potatoes.

"Copout" ingredients...."crutches"

I agree with the pasta and sauce thing. My latest kick has been to eat almost-naked pasta with just olive oil, pepper and parm.

Agreed re: bacon and other cured pork products, pancetta being one of the worst because it is bourgeois enough to sound cool but is still glorified bacon.

How Do You Pay the Bill at Restaurants?

My husband and I are the ones who order drinks when our other friends drink water and we always pay our fair share. When the bill is passed around, we have groups of friends who always come up short, and we have groups of friends who always come out with way too much. We have stopped going out with those folks who come up short. We only split the check evenly with very good friends, or we take turns treating each other.

One horror story, we went out with a group for a nominal friend's birthday. This one guy ordered more than the rest of us and then left early. He left about $12 for his actual $20 meal. Then we were all expected to chip in for the birthday girl - that guy did not chip in in addition to stiffing us. My husband and I had stupidly forgotten to get cash, so we had to put it all on our card because of course everyone else came up short. That nominal friend is no longer a friend at all.

And a final note, now if the check comes up short when it makes it around the table, I will sit there and make people put in a few more dollars. If the tip is short, I also make people put in more. No stiffing the server on my watch, but I will not enable cheapskates. :P

Spending a Franklin, Would You Rather Spend It-In-House or Out?

I would absolutely go out. For $100 I can go to a place that's worth paying for, so I am going to go and experience the great food. They can get 10 dishes dirty to prepare my meal and I don't have to worry about it.

Soondubu Jjigae (Korean Soft Tofu Stew)

Love Korean tofu dishes. This is going on the list!

Serious Salads: Grated Carrot and Mint Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

I'm trying to eat more vegetables and was getting of tired of heavy roasted ones. This salad sounds awesome.

As-Good-As-Cole-Slaw Cabbage and Parsley Salad

Perfect timing, I have cabbage and parsley that both need to used up. I am making this tonight!

Out of the Express Line if you have more than 10 items, please!

On Sunday, Superbowl Sunday, we got in the express line with our two items. The lady in front of us had $300+ worth of groceries. She was almost done so we hadn't noticed how epic her groceries were. There was no way those were 15 items and it took awhile to bag up after the clerk was done ringing them. In addition to holding up the express line with her deli potato salad and all kinds of other crap (literally all processed, chips, dip, mayonnaise up the wazoo), she made the clerk take another few minutes to write up a rain-check for a ginormous case of WHITE ZINFANDEL. Who gets a rain-check on white zinfandel? Even my husband was commenting, and he is the picture of saintliness.

Grace/prayer at a dinner party

Our friends know where we stand on our faith. We say thanks before every meal at our home. If it's awkward, oh well. They know it's important to us, and they know we care about them as well, so it works out.