Recently I had the opportunity to sit with Top Chef alum and San Diego restaurateur Richard Blais and talk about his new cookbook, So Good. The book is Blais' second--and geared toward the home cook who may not be all that keen on trying out Blais' more modernist, science-geek techniques. The recipes are more user-friendly and accessible than you'd think, although he also encourages home cooks to reach a bit. I used my time with Blais to get tips for how to better succeed with various recipes, so you'll get the benefit of his expertise. He's a good teacher. You can find the story in this week's San Diego Union-Tribune food section.
Got the hots for Mexican food? Of course! What respectable San Diegan wouldn’t? You likely have your favorite taco joints like Las Cuatro Milpas or El Indio. Or you seek out the most sublime version of guacamole — perhaps Galaxy Taco’s or Puesto’s. You may even make traditional Mexican dishes at home — certainly salsa or ceviche; if you’re ambitious, tamales or enchiladas or pozole. But do you have the right tools for the job?
I got to thinking about this during a conversation with San Diego chef Sara Polczynski, who is a culinary teacher and owns the marvelous online company Sabor Imports. While chatting about her products, it occurred to us that a lot of people on our side of the border don’t have or know how to use some of the kitchen tools that are so commonplace in Mexican kitchens. The ones that immediately stood out to us were the molinillo, the comal and the molcajete. Each is available at local Mexican markets, in Tijuana, or online. And they’re very affordable.
My new story about Polczynski and her tips for using these tools--along with some great recipes--appears in The San Diego Union-Tribune's food section. Take a look.
Making fresh homemade sausage isn't a grind. It's fun and easy. I learned how from executive chef Joe Magnanelli of CUCINA urbana, who showed me his technique for this San Diego Union-Tribune story. And he shared two delicious recipes! Spending time in the kitchen with chefs is such a pleasure--and you always learn more than just a recipe. That's what makes these experiences so worthwhile for readers. I get to share chef tips that help home cooks be more successful with the specific recipes and they can be leveraged for other dishes they make.
In her new book, Bowls of Plenty, author Carolynn Carreño advocates getting rid of the plate and filling bowls with delicious, grain-based breakfasts, salads, main courses, and desserts. My new story in The San Diego Union-Tribune's food section on Carreño and her book explores her embrace of this cool style of eating and how she came to develop it. Plus, we've included two recipes for you to try.
How good are you at creating winning flavor combinations? Chef Anthony Sinsay of JSix shared his technique with me, using ingredients in his pantry. And, oh, what he's come up with! Great building blocks, like chamomile salt and miso butter. What a great learning experience! It's all in my story in the San Diego Union-Tribune's food section.
I've been following Nancy Silverton since she opened Campanile and La Brea Bakery back in the early 90s in my old neighborhood in L.A. I had already moved to San Diego but still hadn't emotionally transitioned from my original hometown. And what she was doing was big! When she published her La Brea Bakery bread book, I enthusiastically made her grape starter and from that baked loaves upon loaves of sourdough bread in my tiny apartment.
So, when my editor at the San Diego Union-Tribune asked me if I'd be interested in interviewing Silverton, author of the new "Mozza at Home," for a last-minute article ahead of a book signing she was scheduled to do at Chino Farms, I was on it. And the conversation was terrific. It turns out we grew up in the same neighborhood and even had some of the same junior high teachers. Then we talked about her philosophy about home entertaining. That's what in this article. Silverton's not so keen on formal dinner parties or potlucks. She loves buffets--and spells out why and how she makes them work. All this is what you'll find in this story, along with recipes from the new cookbook.