Thursday, June 28, 2012

Clementine

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Los Angeles, CA. Some days I wake up and just want a cookie. I know, I know, it may come as a surprise given that I usually want a pastry along the cinnamon roll or cheese danish route. However, there it was: a chocolate chip cookie was happening. Now where could I find such a specific dessert in the middle of Century City? A fair question given the corporate surroundings, but easily answered with Clementine, a neighborhood bakery and cafe.
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Spicy Chicken Soup

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Usually after phone calls from home I have a few new ideas to tamper with in the kitchen. It can be a frosting, a sauce, or ways to vary up a cake, but there's generally some new idea that inspires me to duplicate a family recipe or try something new. This recipe was adopted from my grandmother who makes this particular soup if someone is feeling a bit under-the-weather. The sinus-clearing spice blend really does its job! It is very simple to make and even if perfectly health, it is a nice toasty addition to add to a colder evening.
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jo Bar and Rotisserie

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Portland, OR. Sometimes it is about ease, hosting friends who are coming together for that long-standing raincheck. Other times it is about the ambience, hosting romance to sweet confections. The service can even be a draw, where friendly, informative or excited servers proudly escort the meal to a few hungry eyes. Though any individual or combination of these qualities could sustain my relationship with the eatery, at Jo Bar and Rotisserie it is the food that will be pulling me back.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Crave Cafe

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Sherman Oaks, CA. I could stop at the fact that this little eatery is open 24 hours. A decent place that serves semi-economical organic fare at all hours of the day is sometimes enough, in my book, to get a mention. I have met up with a friend of mine here a few times now for a simple coffee and I'm always tempted to (and I usually do) try something new. Seating is inside and out, and rather expansive despite the small-seeming storefront. The service is consistently friendly and helpful for locals, visitors, and newcomers alike. If coffee is all that one desires, the free refill on a large iced is a benefit to linger a bit longer.
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Friday, June 15, 2012

Cranberry Scones with Orange Zest

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Together again, a full ensemble at play, igniting a memory of childhood - no, I'm not British, but I have many fond memories of my time abroad - freshly fried fish and chips, lamb kabobs, and the highly celebrated English tea. It was a time that I was introduced to, as an American, to sample a scone or three paired with marmalade or jam, and always a clotted cream. The items were usually plated for me, due to the age, but warm and delicious they always were. Whether it was baked fresh or bought from a local vendor, everyone knew just what to do, and I wanted to recreate it as I know how to do.
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Juicy Burger

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Hollywood, CA. Whether the hunger was building from walking along the streets of Hollywood or a much-needed snack was required, this small eatery caters well. The idea may seem innovative to first-timers visiting the Los Angeles area, but the concept is by no means novel. The prices and the succession of good eats, is what makes it a worthy burger opponent to the competing vendors in this burgeoning area of the industry. The model is simple: the customer pencils in the order, waits a few minutes, and voila - lunch, dinner, or snacks - are served.
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Clotted Cream

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I was introduced to Clotted Cream during my youth, accompanying the warm scones and jams I ate during snack time. It was my "non-butter" - it would melt similarly, if not more quickly, was a bit creamier in texture, and contained a mild sweetness. If it was a mini-container of cream, I would warm the pack between my palms and allow my body heat to bring it to room temperature. In imagining my own adult version of a snack time (including scones and jam), clotted cream surely needed to make its way on the menu. This recipe is an adaptation of how it is made in factories and uncovered through a series of online reading. The basic principle: thin layer of heavy cream + heat source + time, and a clotted cream one will make.
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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fresh Blueberry Jam

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In my mind it was all there: a warm English tea, fresh scones, and clotted cream melting, being soaked up by the scone's texture. The more I considered it, the more I wanted something extra - a sweetness to add to the dish but remain distinct from the other flavors. I also wanted a tartness and blueberries offered both (attached to its own boldness). Much like before, this is an incredibly quick, simple, and tasty topping that can be used for pies, cheesecakes, cobblers, and so much more!
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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Kitchen-Fresh Buttermilk and Butter

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'Food-astrophes' happen all the time in the kitchen, how can they not? The kitchen is a creative forum for a different kind of artist to explore various food thoughts, theories, recipes, and ingredients. Over-whipping whipped cream, for example, minutes before serving isn't unheard of; this do-it-at-home trick can validate those times the whipped cream was over-whipped ("Oh...I meant to make butter..."). Needing buttermilk? That can be done at home too. With a little research of recipe alternatives over the years, these tricks become less tricky and bolster the taste of most given dishes. As it can be guessed, this isn't a recipe as much as it is a shortcut to fulfill a few items absent the grocery list.
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Sunday, June 03, 2012

Banana Cake with Almond Cream Cheese Frosting

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I grew up enjoying the simple sweet breads: zucchini, pumpkin, and banana - either my grandmother was always baking or she froze a few loaves in anticipation of the arrival of her grandkids. Banana bread was one of the staples that felt a bit 'more' than a bread - a legitimate splurge that took the cake, so to speak. To hint back at my childhood and make a rendition of a dessert standard in my family, I made this double-layer Banana Cake iced with an Almond Cream Cheese Frosting. The use of brown and white sugar with the natural sweetness of the banana actually created a lightness pairing well with the richness of the frosting. This cake was claimed by and distributed to friends and their tummies within 24 hours!
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