Ask where to get knives sharpened, especially during this time of year when optimal equipment is essential for taking on holiday fowl and hams, and chances are you'll hear the same name from committed steel blade owners across Los Angeles: Ross.
Just because a business like Ross Cutlery has been around for 80-plus years doesn't mean it's immune from wanting to upgrade. So back in March, it moved a few doors south on Broadway within the historic heart of downtown. Why the change? "Much better space, more visibility. Three times the amount of square footage. It was just an all-around better deal for us," explains co-owner Allen Wattenberg.
Do you ever find yourself having this reccurring nightmare in which you're hanging out with Ferran Adriá in San Sebastián and he starts showing you these crazy ingredients but you can't understand a word of his thick, heavily accented Catalan?
Uh, yeah, us neither.
But on the off-chance you want to learn more about the culinary vocabulary of Spain, which might prove handy when perusing menus these days, online Spanish food store La Tienda has launched Learning@LaTienda, an interactive website to help España neophytes familiarize themselves with cuisine and culture by using flash cards, regional bios and "hablo" images.
Say you find yourself at dinnertime with, oh, a dozen Brussels sprouts, what's left of the frozen shrimp, a wedge or two of some cheese, and your everyday assortment of pantry items. If you have no idea how to bring it all together, forget about trying to plug the contents of your kitchen in Google's interesting but overwhelming Recipes Search.
Instead, refer to Information is Beautiful's ingenious "Taste Buds" infographic to see which flavors complement certain foods. This, in other words, is the closest thing to a home kitchen version of Carson Kressley you will ever have.
L.A. doesn't have that romantic tradition of street vendors serving up roasted and salted chestnuts in a simple paper cone when autumn sets in. You have to go to New York or France for that. They're in season though, so if you want to taste them hot from the fire in Southern California, you can make them yourself. Happily, you can find them at local farmers markets or order them online now from Correia Chestnut Farm and Girolami Farms.
Yes, we know how much you like your tattered and demi-glace-stained copy of The Joy of Cooking, or maybe How to Cook Everything, but there is another book that you would do well to add to the kitchen library, if you don't already have it. The new edition of Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire, the book that codified French cuisine when it was first published in 1903, is being published today by John Wiley and Sons, with new forwards by Tim Ryan, president of The Culinary Institute of America, and Heston Blumenthal, chef of The Fat Duck Restaurant and, well (to paraphrase the Coen Brothers), you know who he is.
This edition, a relative bargain at $70 and on sale at Amazon for far less (context: Larousse is $90; Modernist Cuisine is $625), is an unabridged translation of the 1921 fourth edition, and includes Escoffier's original foreward, a memoir of the chef by his grandson Pierre, and more than 5,000 recipes. Yes, they're in narrative form. So is Proust.
We know the feeling. Why didn't anyone tell me about this before? We actually have. But good news bears repeating: For a couple of days, every few months Epicure Imports, a wholesale importer of gourmet foods in North Hollywood, extends its doors and its wholesale prices to the public. And this Friday, April 15 from 1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday April 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. are those two days until the next dates in June.
When we first heard of this sale and its warehouse setting, we imagined selling weighty cans of escargots and 10+ pound sacks of couscous. Which they do and are nice things to have, but are in quantities that are a bit excessive for the home cook. However, when we finally paid a visit, we were pleased to see their sale extended to items that come in individual consumer sizes like Maldon salts and Fallot mustard. They even pre-slice and price items like cheeses and Serrano hams in manageable sizes specifically for the sale.
We went to their first sale of the year this February with our camera to give a better sense and point out the type of items they may have available this week. Turn the page for a brief tour...
Thanks to the efforts of Master Food Preserver Ernest Miller and UC Cooperative Extension Nutrition Family & Consumer Sciences Advisor Brenda Roche, L.A. is finally relaunching its own Master Food Preserver (MFP) program after more than a decade of dormancy.
While the USDA is doing a bang up job of making sure safe canning and preserving info is available to everyone, home canning's increasing popularity among the LA Weekly set and the slow but inevitable loss of seasoned grandmothers to teach them how to do it safely is creating a bit of an information gap. A gap big enough for a bit of botulism? Of the approximately 150 cases of botulism reported in the US every year, about 22 are from food sources, mainly home canning. Doesn't sound like a big deal until you realize that botulism is a paralytic illness that attacks your nervous system, shutting down vital functions, like, you know, breathing. Seriously.
That's where the MFP programs come in. Run by various cooperative extensions nationwide, MFP programs are intensive workshops designed to churn out dedicated advocates of safe food preservation who can answer your every canning question with ease. Up until now local aspiring LA canning instructors have had to travel out to San Bernardino to participate in the Master Food Preserver program there. But come this March, qualifying Angelenos will be able to do granny proud without the long trek east.
Veterans returning home face many problems of transition, and in this economy, just finding a job can be one of them. According to PR Newswire, currently more than 250,000 U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are unemployed, and the rate of unemployment for veterans ages 18 to 24 is possibly as high as 30%. The Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC), a non-profit started by farmers, is trying to make this re-entry more viable by putting returning veterans in touch with area farmers, thereby connecting two groups with identifiable needs that seem potentially very well suited to each other.
To this end, the FVC, a project of Community Partners and a member of Coalition for Iraq + Afghanistan Veterans, is holding their first Southern California Food and Farming Veteran Career Fair next Wednesday, June 30th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The purpose of the fair is to connect returning vets with jobs, internships, training programs and colleges, as well as to offer assistance to those veterans interested in starting their own farms or food-related businesses.
When the James Beard Foundation isn't busy finding America's future culinary superstars, it's surveying their current roster to find out what makes them tick. Recently, the JBF quizzed its members about - what else? - their favorite, can't-live-without iPhone apps. Now you, too, can organize your grocery list, scan cookbooks and find the freshest seasonal produce just like the pros. Who knows, maybe you'll bump into Michael Cimarusti or Akasha Richmond while browsing for the ripest artichokes, fava beans or summer berries. Okay, maybe not, but at least you'll know what's on their phones.
Making (and organizing!) a grocery list has never been this easy. Simply use your iPhone's camera to scan the barcode for any product you're after and it's automatically stored in a customized list. Better yet, Grocery IQ lets you find free coupons, share your grocery list with others and sort your items according to their specific grocery store aisle.