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December 18, 2012 | By S. Irene Virbila
Any cook with an interest in Asian food will love this book from the Slanted Door 's Charles Phan. I've had my copy of "Vietnamese Home Cooking" only a few weeks, but it's already well-thumbed. I've been on a real binge, making his green papaya salad with rau ram , peanuts and crispy shallots numerous times. That goes for pork and shrimp spring rolls with velvety peanut sauce (the secret is a little glutinous rice and red miso) too. For the Hollywood Bowl, we made bánh mi filled with lemongrass pork roast, which Phan describes as a "cheater's version of porchetta.
December 17, 2012 | By Russ Parsons
Where do recipes come from, and who has the right to claim them? As a professional writer of recipes for almost 30 years, that's something I think about a lot. And I was thinking about it again this weekend after a couple of readers took issue with one of the winners in our third annual Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off . The recipe in question was for the rosemary apricot bars submitted by Kelli Abrahamian, and it provides a...
December 12, 2012 | By Russ Parsons
My old friend Michael Ruhlman has come up with a terrific holiday gift not only for cookbook readers but for cookbook writers. Always out in front of the technological curve, Ruhlman and his photographer wife, Donna Turner Ruhlman, have just released a mini-cookbook for the iPad called “The Book of Schmaltz: A Love Song to a Forgotten Fat” (perfect timing, no? There are still four days of Hanukkah left). It's gorgeous. If for some reason you never thought frying chicken fat could be made beautiful, you really need to check this out. Especially on the iPad, the colors just glow.
November 26, 2012 | By Betty Hallock
It's that time of year when ardent bakers have their stand mixers perpetually at the ready. Cookies, cakes, pies? No problem. But candy? The sight of a candy thermometer can make even the most experienced among us hesitate, if not run screaming.  Enter " The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook ," written by the founders of the eponymous Brooklyn candy shop known for its fat, handmade candy bars, caramels in flavors such as fig-ricotta, and...
November 20, 2012 | By Russ Parsons
It takes a lot of chutzpah to name a cookbook “Mastering the Art of ….” After all, Julia Child pretty much has the rights to that phrase in perpetuity. But my old friend Nathalie Dupree has never been the shy type. And why should she be? Having done  all of those 11 cookbooks and 300 TV cooking shows teaching the pleasures of biscuits, fried chicken and coconut cakes, if she hasn't earned the right to call her new book (written with Cynthia Graubart) “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking,” who ever will?
November 16, 2012 | By Rene Lynch
Prepare to be seduced by "The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. " Those thunks you may have heard in recent days are copies of the hefty cookbook landing on doorsteps and mailboxes since its Oct. 30 release. Written by New York-based food blogger Deb Perelman, the book already hit the No. 1 spot on's list of cookbooks and at last check is at the No. 15 spot on the seller's top 100 overall books. To say this is one of the most hotly anticipated cookbooks of the year would be an understatement, as evidenced in part by the stellar cast of food bloggers who have written glowing reviews for the book jacket, among them: Ree Drummond (a.k.a.
November 9, 2012 | By S. Irene Virbila
There's a new cookbook from Mile End Delicatessen , the diminutive Brooklyn restaurant founded by the young couple Noah and Rae Bernamoff to celebrate Jewish comfort food. It's grandma's food given a chefly spin by law school dropout Noah. (Rae runs the front of the house.) The place looks good (on my list for next visit to New York) and the recipes look great. Learn how to smoke meat, brine and steam brisket, render schmaltz and make chopped liver seasoned with quatre-épices (a spice mixture that's equal parts white pepper, ginger, cloves and cinnamon.)
November 6, 2012 | By Betty Hallock
On Wednesday at noon UCLA professor of French and Francophone Studies Jean-Louis Carron discusses the historical, social, political and cultural context of "Le Cuisinier François (The French Cook)" by Francois Pierre La Varenne. Its 1651 publication and a coinciding culinary revolution are considered to be the birth of modern French (i.e. western) gastronomy. Burgundian chef La Varenne broke with Italian traditions, which had upended medieval French cookery a century before, abandoning heavy spices of the Middle Ages for fresh herbs, maximizing the flavors of meat, and introducing new vegetables.
November 1, 2012 | By Russ Parsons
David Lebovitz knows his sweets . The Paris-based blogger is a former pastry chef at Chez Panisse and one of my favorite cookboook authors, with several dessert cookbooks and a guidebook to Parisian pastries to his credit. He knows his stuff. So when he says that Pasadena's Little Flower Candy Co. makes caramels that are the equal of anything he can find in France, that's a pretty big deal. "People often ask me, after taking a bite of a caramel in Paris: Why can't they get caramels that taste like that in America?"
October 31, 2012 | By Russ Parsons
It was probably inevitable. But this quickly? Clarkson Potter just published a "Fifty Shades of Grey" parody cookbook titled "Fifty Shades of Chicken," (written by the pseudonymous FL Fowler rather than EL James). "50 Chicken Recipes Bound to Be Delicious" it promises on the cover. It's pretty funny, in a calculatedly cheesy, snickeringly naughty sort of way. The cover photo is of a beautifully bronzed roast chicken resting on its side, carefully trussed. Most of the book is unquotable, including the back cover excerpt, though the attribution should give you a taste of what's to come (heh-heh)
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