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August 3, 2013 | S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times
No mistaking when you meet Semsa Denizsel. She is the real deal: a female chef in a place where that's unusual enough, self-taught, outspoken in her opinions, fierce in her love for Turkey and its food. She's been called the Alice Waters of Istanbul. Not only do they share a farm-to-table philosophy, but they also have the same uncompromising sensibilities. Her cooking at Kantin , her simple but sophisticated restaurant in Istanbul, is lusty, exuberant, real. The plating is natural, unforced, a woman's eye. "I don't like fussy.
July 25, 2013 | By Isabella Alsobrook
Homemade yogurt, like giant bell-bottoms and paisley caftans, went out of style in the '70s. Although I am relieved some hippie trends are obsolete, homemade yogurt is long overdue for its revival. Yogurt is surprisingly easy to make. To ferment your own yogurt, heat a quart of milk to 180 degrees, let it cool to 115 degrees, plop in two tablespoons of store-bought yogurt with active cultures, and let sit in a warm oven overnight. Save a spoonful of your new yogurt to act as a starter for your next batch.
July 24, 2013 | By Russ Parsons
There is something awfully meta about cookbooks from “urban rustic” restaurants. They're books about food that the authors often first learned about in other books. That doesn't mean they're not good, but that they need to be approached from a certain angle. Restaurant chefs may have similar goals to Italian mamas, but they often use different methods. It's amazing how much technique can go into making a dish that almost exactly resembles what someone ate in a little farmhouse somewhere.
July 22, 2013 | By Lisa Dillman
The latest step(s) on the Olympic road to Sochi, Russia, came on Monday when various national hockey federations released their orientation camp rosters. There was significant Los Angeles-Anaheim representation, and a decided youth movement in terms of the makeup of Team USA. Of the 48 players invited to USA Hockey's camp at the end of August, only four were born before 1984 -- goalies Craig Anderson (Ottawa Senators) and Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres) and defensemen  Paul Martin  and Brooks Orpik (Pittsburgh Penguins)
July 11, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
Have the French gone crazy? Following close on the heels of Winestar 's French wine in a can - and not just plonk, but vintage red, white and rosé from such prestigious appellations as Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone Valley  - a French producer is introducing cola-flavored wine. Say what? Hausmann Famille, a branch of the firm Châteaux en Bordeaux , has introduced Rouge Sucette, a red wine doused with cola flavor targeted for a younger audience. PHOTOS: 13 big, bold, juicy red wines In France, sad to say wine drinking has plummeted in recent years, particularly among the young, who are more attracted to beer and spirits.
July 5, 2013 | By Rene Lynch
Choose: Vanilla or... buckwheat ice cream? Candied carrot ice cream? Or Parmesan gelato? We'll leave it to the experts to decide what your choice says about you, or your childhood. But in honor of National Ice Cream Month -- which is July, don't you know -- we decided to go beyond vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. PHOTOS: 25 crazy cold recipes We searched the Los Angeles Times' Test Kitchen archives for the most outlandish flavors we could find. We didn't stop at ice cream, either.
June 22, 2013 | By Russ Parsons
It doesn't matter how sunny it might be right now, it takes a month or so of that much heat to get most tomatoes to that perfect, juice-dripping ripeness we all crave. But until then, look for little grape or cherry tomatoes. They're smaller, so they ripen earlier and they are bred to be high in sugar. Late-summer flavor without a long wait. How to choose: Tomatoes should be vibrantly colored with taut, shiny skin. There should be no soft or wrinkly spots. How to store: Never refrigerate tomatoes -- it kills the flavor.
June 15, 2013 | By John Verive
The Hollywood Bowl's season is in full-swing, and the pre-show picnic is a tradition we never get tired of. Whether you're bringing charcuterie and cheese, fruits and salads, or some picnic sandwiches, there are plenty of craft brews to add to your picnic basket. In addition to all the new beer that's available in cans, here are four suggestions that are sure to please your blanket-mates - even if they're usually wine drinkers. Logsdon - Seizon / Seizon Bretta This organic farmhouse-style ale from Oregon is available in two versions: the standard Seizon and the more complex and earthy Seizon Bretta which adds a funky wild yeast.
June 14, 2013 | By Adam Tschorn
A panel of celebrity judges, including fashion designers Whitney Port and Timo Weiland, actress Emma Roberts, pro skateboarder Steve Caballero and Yo Gabba Gabba! co-creator Christian Jacobs, picked  Lakeridge High School of Lake Oswego , Ore., as the winner of the fourth annual Vans Custom Culture Contest at a June 11 event in New York City. According to Vans, this year's competition included 1,458 high schools from all 50 states, each submitting pairs of Vans customized around the following themes: art, music, action sports and local flavor.
June 14, 2013 | By Jessica Gelt
I reserve a special loathing for flavored alcohol. Atrocities like pomegranate, cotton candy and melon-flavored vodkas make me want to rip my taste buds out by their roots. And don't even get me started about flavored whiskey. Yes, the makers of Fireball cinnamon-flavored whiskey are rolling in the large profits they make off unseasoned drinkers at keg parties, but they should also be made to roll in a fire pit. May I suggest the special place in hell reserved for those who would befoul the sacred treaty between brown liquor and a sense of (or at least an aspiration to)
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