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November 24, 2012 | By Noelle Carter, Los Angeles Times
Dear SOS: I enjoy reading your column, and it occurred to me that you might be able to answer my request. "It was a dark and stormy night," like many we've recently had, when friends and I happened into Smitty's in Pasadena after the theater. Not being Pasadena locals, we didn't realize our good fortune. It was a perfect night for their signature chili and corn bread specials. Not your ground beef variety, the chili seemed to be prepared with flank steak and the corn bread was the best ever.
November 21, 2012 | By Amy Goldman Koss
In my childhood, Hostess snack foods loomed as the symbol of freedom. Freedom from the cruel health food regimen and ethnic dietary peculiarities of my keepers. Freedom to eat and dance and flirt and wear loafers and be cute and silly and utterly American. While I trudged the three blocks to Zeman's bakery for a loaf of salted and seeded rye wrapped in brown paper, I knew that happy, free girls were out there digging into plastic polka-dotted bags of Wonder Bread, selecting two perfect slices as soft as clouds.
November 17, 2012 | By Alana Semuels and Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
Twinkies may last forever, but the same can't be said for Hostess Brands Inc., the company that makes the popular cream-filled spongecake. Hostess has asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to go out of business and lay off 18,500 workers, blaming a strike by members of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union. Quiz: The week in business  "We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," Hostess Chief Executive Gregory F. Rayburn said in a statement Friday.
November 12, 2012 | By Noelle Carter
This bread pudding, from "The Food52 Cookbook" by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs and the Food52 community, is a savory combination of prosciutto, mushrooms, goat cheese and Gruyere, with a nice lift from chopped fresh thyme. The texture, rich with eggs and cream, is voluptuous. And the whole thing comes together in minutes, minus the baking, as demonstrated here by Food editor Russ Parsons. Savory bread pudding is one of the favorite holiday recipes we've collected in our "Los Angeles Times Holiday Handbook.
November 1, 2012 | By Betty Hallock
In case you didn't plan ahead for Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, and made your own pan de muerto ( this recipe is from Diana Kennedy's "The Art of Mexican Cooking" and you should definitely try it, but including rising times it takes several hours), Mexican bakeries are stocked for the two-day celebration that starts Thursday evening (All Saints' Day) and ends Friday morning (All Souls' Day). Pan de muerto , a traditional part of the festivities that commemorate friends and family who have died, is shaped into a mound and decorated with bone-shaped pieces of dough to symbolize an offering to the dearly departed.
October 20, 2012 | By S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times
Bruschetta doesn't really need a recipe, but it does require the best ingredients you can find. First of all, a crusty loaf of bread with some texture and holes to it. My favorite is the country loaf from the original La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles. Day-old is perfect. After all, this - and many other Tuscan dishes - came about as a way to use up old bread. Then you need some plump fresh garlic cloves and a bottle of either olio nuovo (new oil, a good one is available from Rare Wine Co. in Sonoma starting the first week of December)
September 23, 2012 | By Charles Perry
To Americans, "loaf-shaped" connotes something rectangular with definite square corners. That wouldn't occur to people in most of Europe, where nearly all breads are baked free-standing--the long French and Italian loaves, the round rustic breads found from Russia to Spain, fancy braided harvest loaves and so on. Only in the Netherlands and the English-speaking world is bread usually baked in rectangular loaf pans. England and Holland changed to the loaf pan because it was more convenient for bakers and in order to get a higher loaf (because the dough can't spread sideways as it bakes, loaf-pan bread rises higher)
September 1, 2012 | By Noelle Carter
This week's Culinary SOS request comes from Kate McPike in Rancho Cucamonga: "My friends and I were in New Orleans in March and ate at this wonderful restaurant on St. Charles Avenue. For dessert we shared their sweet potato bread pudding. Any chance you can get that recipe for us? It was yummy!" Unapologetically rich, Zea's dense sweet potato bread pudding has an almost cake-like texture, with a crunchy pecan topping. It's great on its own, but baptized with a thick, sweet rum sauce it's downright inspired.
August 30, 2012 | By Noelle Carter
A touch of fresh-toasted bread crumbs can literally transform a dish, whether you're sprinkling them over vegetables or gratins, and they even work magic drizzled over desserts. They can elevate a simple pasta dish, too, as Food editor Russ Parsons shows in this amazing (and simple) recipe for spaghetti with arugula and garlic bread crumbs . For more quick-fix dinner ideas, check out our video recipe gallery . Parsons and Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter show you how to fix a dozen dishes in an hour or less.
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