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January 22, 2013 | Doyle McManus
On the eve of Inauguration Day, White House political strategist David Plouffe promised that President Obama's inaugural address would include a call for bipartisan cooperation. "He is going to say that our political system does not require us to resolve all of our differences or settle all of our disputes, but it is absolutely imperative that our leaders try and seek common ground," Plouffe said on ABC. But it was hard to find that outstretched hand in the inaugural speech Obama gave Monday.
January 12, 2013
  While most experienced cooks can agree - more or less - on basic equipment, the pantry is much more a matter of individual choice. How you cook will determine what you cook, in this case. If you prefer Italian, you're going to want a greater variety of dried pastas and at least a couple of olive oils. If you cook Japanese, you'll be choosier about rice and different kinds of soy sauce. This is my highly personal list of the things I need in my basic pantry. Baking All-purpose flour Granulated sugar Light brown sugar Powdered sugar Baking soda Baking powder Cornmeal Spice cabinet Dried thyme Dried oregano Black peppercorns Vanilla extract Ground cinnamon Cloves Bay leaves Dried red pepper flakes Cumin Fennel seeds Kosher salt Almonds Walnuts Pantry staples Olive oil Vegetable oil Soy sauce Vinegars, at least red wine and sherry Canned beans (white, pinto, garbanzo)
January 2, 2013 | By Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times
Actress Cheryl Ladd has listed her 22.5-acre estate in Santa Ynez at $3.995 million. The Italian-style villa, with 6,557 square feet of living space, sits off a circular motor court ringed with potted olive trees, Italian cypress and native landscaping. A large foyer overlooks a sunken living room. Features include stone fireplaces, a covered colonnade loggia, four bedrooms, five bathrooms and beamed and paneled ceilings. Ladd, 61, joined the cast of "Charlie's Angels" from 1977 to 1981.
December 20, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
Darden Restaurants Inc.'s second quarter was far from appetizing, as the owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster watched its net income plunge 37%. The Orlando, Fla., restaurant company saw the sour numbers coming. Earlier in December, citing a litany of factors including negative blow-back over its response to the new national healthcare law, ineffective promotions and Superstorm Sandy -- for its decision to lower expectations for the quarter. The prophesies came to pass: On Thursday, Darden executives said same-store sales at U.S. restaurants open at least a year tumbled a disappointing 2.7% for its three main chains for the period ended Nov. 25. At Olive Garden, which has struggled for months to counteract disappointing sales with refreshed stores and national specials, sales sank 3.2%.
December 19, 2012 | By John Horn and Susan King
The Academy Awards are still two months away, but the surge of critical support for Kathryn Bigelow's “Zero Dark Thirty” is raising a provocative question: How many filmmakers have won two best director Oscars within just a few years? Bigelow became the first woman ever to win the directing Academy Award for  “The Hurt Locker,” which also took the trophy for best picture at the 2010 ceremony. If she were to take home the directing statuette in 2013 for “Zero Dark Thirty,” she would have collected the honor twice in a four-year span, tying the modern mark held by Oliver Stone.
December 14, 2012 | By Matt Donnelly
Drew Barrymore has always been open about her, shall we say, unique childhood.  That shouldn't suggest there aren't traditions worth passing on to her and husband Will Kopelman's baby girl Olive. In one of her few post-birth sightings, the actress and Kopelman hit revamped L.A. institution Spago for lunch last Thursday -- and a little slice of Barrymore history. "She's been coming in since the 'E.T.' days with her mom, for Wolfgang's pizza," a source told us of owner and executive chef Puck's signature dish.
December 12, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
A former employee of Beef Products Inc. is suing ABC News, anchor Diane Sawyer, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and others, saying that their use of the phrase “pink slime” ultimately cost him his job. Bruce Smith was among 750 people laid off by the South Dakota beef processor earlier this year amid fears over the safety and quality of a meat product dubbed “pink slime” by critics.  The product, known in the industry as lean finely textured beef,...
December 11, 2012 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Boyish chef Jamie Oliver moved past Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling on British bestseller lists this week, the Guardian reports. Their books were released on the same day, Sept. 27. Oliver has penned a cookbook, "15 Minute Meals. " His cookbooks are perennially popular, landing at or near the top of British bestseller lists. While Rowling is also a bestseller, her novel released this year was not guaranteed to be a hit. She left Harry Potter behind and penned her first book for adults, "The Casual Vacancy.
December 11, 2012 | By Russ Parsons
If you've ever been in Italy in the late fall and early winter, you know how amazing the perfume of really fresh olive oil can be -- artichokes, green beans, call me crazy but I get something deeply floral, like roses and, oh yes, olives. The problem is, fresh oil doesn't last very long and it rarely seems to ship well. All of those vibrant grassy aromas and flavors mellow into something that's quite delicious, but nutty rather than vegetal. But I've just found the first California oil so far that delivers that remarkable olio nuovo pungency.
December 8, 2012 | By Faye Levy
As a child in Hebrew school, I was taught the story of the Hanukkah miracle: When the Jews in the land of Israel defeated the foreigners, the priests seeking to rekindle the temple's eternal light found enough ritually pure oil for only one day. Miraculously that oil lasted for eight days. Since then, Jews have been celebrating Hanukkah every year by lighting candles every day for eight days. Children in Israel play with dreidels inscribed with the first Hebrew letters of the phrase "a big miracle happened here "; in Washington, D.C., my birthplace, our dreidels had the first letters of "a big miracle happened there . " Until I lived in Israel, I associated the holiday with latkes, or potato pancakes.
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