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November 14, 2011
April 28, 2011
Kevin West and I headed to the Eastern Sierra (Deep Springs country) to cook several memorable meals in the iconic town of Lone Pine, in Inyo County’s southern Owens Valley, for a visionary group of creative folks called The Metabolic Studio (“at the intersection of art and philanthropy”). These dynamic Angelenos, well aware of the upcoming 2013 centenary of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s diversion of water from the Owens River via the Los Angeles Aqueduct (remember the movie Chinatown?), are taking a keen, artistic-philanthropic interest in the Owens Valley region and its promising agricultural and culinary future, as the valley’s water is gradually restored. Today, a visitor to the Owens Valley sees mostly desert and a few cattle ranches among towering mountainscapes, but with a little poking around, he or she might find an apple farm, a sprawling vegetable garden in someone’s backyard, wild watercress growing in a pond, nettles near a stream, herds of elk, or pińons in the lower mountain elevations.Food is an expression of the place where you are. Bearing that in mind, last week my long-time friend and Deep Springs classmate
February 9, 2011
WINTER BEET SALAD WITH FETA CHEESE, WALNUTS, AND HERB VINAIGRETTE/
SPICED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH ROASTED YAMS, TENDER GREENS, AND ORANGE-RED ONION RELISH/
FRESH GINGER CAKE WITH MEYER LEMON CREAM/
August 14, 2010
Beets are the quintessential cook’s vegetable: in a skilled cook’s hands, they undergo a big transformation, from hard, dense, and assertively sweet, to smooth, velvety, and balanced. They must be cooked, I think, to taste their best, and when cooked and seasoned with care, they’re as delicious as they are colorful. Their substantial, earthy-sweet flavor is always a delight. I use beets most frequently in the cooler months of the year—their intense colors are especially welcome then—but even now, in midsummer, some of our local farmers are still offering them at the markets alongside the heirloom tomatoes, peppers, corn, and eggplant. Here is a hot-weather beet inspiration Elge brought when she visited last week for the book party: a beet-based Bloody Mary. At home, she’d made David Tanis’ “Cold Pink Borscht in a Glass” from his cookbook A Platter of Figs and had some leftover broth. “Oooh, a beet Bloody Mary!” she thought. We made some broth expressly for making the drinks, and were thoroughly refreshed by them after a long day of Big Pink Cake-wrangling and other party preparations. I thought such a deep red drink needed a name—an appropriate, modern name…whether you associate it with the star or the witch, “Bellatrix” seemed just right. If an air of danger comes to mind, well, perhaps it's appropriate...these are very potent...and very drinkable.
June 30, 2010
-ROCK COD BAKED IN FIG LEAVES
-SAUTEED SPICY SQUID
GARDEN SALAD WITH PAIN AU LEVAIN CROUTONS
RASPBERRIES WITH ROSE-SCENTED CREAM
How do you compose a menu? This one started with a craving, for roasted potatoes with aioli. Right now—early summer—is the perfect time of year to satisfy such a craving. Garlic has just been harvested; the sharpness is fresh and true, the cloves delicate and juicy, all the better for pounding to a puree with a mortar and pestle for aioli. (By “aioli,” I mean nothing but the classic southern French garlic mayonnaise, freshly made with egg yolks, a smidgen of Dijon mustard, wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and lots of extra-virgin olive oil, flavored with pounded garlic.) New potatoes, thin-skinned and sweet, are emerging from the ground, too.
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