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Taco Mania

Thu Nov 15, 2007

tostadas

Black Bean, Chicken & Goat Cheese Tostadas

Wedding rehearsal dinners can be a drag. The food, most often, seems like an afterthought. But at a recent wedding in San Diego I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bride and groom had hired a taco truck to cater their post-rehearsal picnic at the Cove in La Jolla. They served delicious, authentic tacos on handmade fresh tortillas. I watched studiously as the cook ran little balls of dough through a hand-crank machine that flattened and punched out perfect five-inch circles. He threw the tortillas on a hot griddle and then ladled carne asada or chicken in them, then topped each with a little chopped cabbage and crema.

The tacos were amazing! And better still, you could smell the tortillas warming on the griddle from halfway down the beach. Sea air wrapped around aromas of sweet corn, enticing like fresh bread baking in an outdoor oven.

Since then, I’ve been on a bit of a taco kick, leading my boyfriend and I to the Best Fish Taco in Ensenada—a welcoming, turquoise-colored converted auto body shop in Los Feliz (on Hillhurst). Continue reading

Recipe Difficulty: Easy
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Operation Oven Fried Chicken

Sun Oct 28, 2007

fried chicken

Spicy Oven Fried Chicken

When I was in college my roommate Jamie and I loved to watch movies. We often bribed each other to stop procrastinating with films: if you write the first three pages of your 10-page paper, you get to watch a half hour of a movie and one cocktail, when you finish the next three pages you get another half hour and another drink. Eventually, we’d sit and watch the end of the movie, tipsy, relaxed and overjoyed that our work was done. The movie selections varied, though kitschy romantic comedies were a perennial fave. Some choices were outright ridiculous and eventually led to additional procrastination, like Pauly Shore’s “Son-in-Law.” There’s a scene in the movie where Pauly Shore enjoys a farm-fresh country meal highlighted by crispy fried chicken. The chicken always looked so moist and delicious, punctuated by the cacophonous crunch of perfectly battered, golden skin that you could practically feel the grease dripping down your hands. The power of suggestion was overwhelming; inevitably, we’d pause the movie and head out of the house for fast-food fried chicken.

While I’ve sworn off fast food these days I still have moments when I can’t shake the craving for fried chicken. Continue reading

Recipe Difficulty: Easy
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Tastes Like Chicken

Fri Sep 7, 2007

I promised myself, when I first started cooking for friends, that I wouldn’t be a whack-a-mole hostess, always a pot on the stove or something else to retrieve from the fridge, popping up from the chair (always strategically chosen for its proximity to the kitchen) then barely having sat down, suddenly popping up again for something else. My mother’s done it. My grandmother’s done it. And I’m sure your mothers and grandmothers have done it, too. I could tell you this bothers me for the way it relegates women to some sort of subservient role, but really it’s nothing so lofty as that. It bothers me because the whack-a-mole hostess doesn’t enjoy her food. Continue reading

Recipe Difficulty: Easy
Categories: Chicken
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Too Hot To Cook?

Wed Aug 15, 2007

Wednesday. It might just be the hardest weekday to muster the energy to cook. Especially in the summer. Especially on a hot, sticky day when you’d much prefer to sit be sitting on the edge of a pool, your toes grazing refreshingly cool water, an ice cold coconut laced drink in hand. But if your local community pool, with its screaming children and noxious chlorine aroma is a far cry from your fantasy and you’ve used up all of your “honey can we order in credits” for the week, you’ll probably have to suck it up and make dinner.Sticking with the coconut motif, last Wednesday I made Chicken and Basil in Coconut Broth from Donna Hay’s “Flavors” cookbook. It was simple, fast and tasty with a few tweaks and tasted fantastic as Thursday’s lunch. Continue reading

Recipe Difficulty: Easy
Categories: Chicken, Easy, Recipe, Thai
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