December 22, 2012 |
Panforte 's name translates to "strong bread," but it is more confection than cake or bread, barely bound with flour and heavy with preserved fruit and honey that dissolve together as they cook. It's studded with toasted nuts and spiced with black pepper, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon and cocoa. Maybe it's because panforte is so often compared with fruitcake and confused with panettone - the raisin- and candied fruit-studded, brioche-like Italian bread - that we don't see enough of the traditional Tuscan cake during the holidays.
December 17, 2012 |
Theater critics will tell you what they hate. What they really, really hate. In London, it's a new stage musical called "Viva Forever!" that uses songs from the British pop group Spice Girls. With a book written by Jennifer Saunders, of "Ab Fab" fame, the musical is backed by Judy Craymer, the producer who brought us another pop-jukebox musical, the blockbuster "Mamma Mia!" "Viva Forever!" opened over the weekend at the Picadilly Theatre on London's West End. The musical doesn't feature any of the original members of the Spice Girls, though the five singers -- including Victoria Beckham -- appeared at a curtain call on opening night.
December 14, 2012 |
The most popular ads of 2012, according to YouTube, include a jab at the Apple iPhone, a choir of dogs barking the "Star Wars" theme, a time machine baby and the Old Spice guy losing his mind. Actually, Old Spice is all over the YouTube Ads Leaderboard , with the men's grooming products maker hogging four spots of 20. Overall, the videos have more than 200 million combined views. Which is paltry when you consider the 358 million hits claimed by Carly Rae Jepsen's “Call Me Maybe” video or Psy's 948 million views for “Gangnam Style.” But the nearly 21 million views garnered by Wieden+Kennedy London's “ My Time Is Now ” soccer spot for Nike, putting it first on the YouTube leaderboard, are respectable.
November 9, 2012 |
If you thought peanut allergies were bad, meet what may be a far worse affliction: Approximately 2% to 3% of the population suffers from severe allergies to spices, according to a presentation Friday at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting in Anaheim by its past president, Dr. Sami Bahna. Spices are everywhere. So while it may be possible to avoid peanuts and other common allergens when dining at restaurants, the ubiquity of spices makes eating out extremely difficult, and can also restrict the use of store-bought and processed foods, as spices are not always listed on packaging.
November 5, 2012 |
The Obamapalooza concert tour hit the Ohio college town (and capital) of Columbus on Monday afternoon with rapper Jay-Z politicizing his lyrics before making a pitch for a big turnout at the polls. Jay-Z modified one of his most popular lyrics, “I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one,” transforming it into “I got 99 problems but Mitt ain't one.” As he talked, the rapper discovered that he was preaching to the choir - a show of hands revealed that most of the audience had already voted.
October 28, 2012 |
This week's Culinary SOS request comes from Lynda Jenner in Pasadena: "Euro Pane on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena has the most delicious spiced pear cake. It is moist and truly delicious with a hint of ginger. I would love to re-create it at home. Could you get the recipe for me?" Owner Sumi Chang was happy to share her recipe for this wonderfully fragrant, moist and delicious cake, writing that "it is a very humble-looking cake, but the taste is incredible. Originally, someone gave me this recipe as an apple cake recipe, and I baked a lot of apple cake using it. Once, however, I was out of apples, so I used Anjou pears instead.
October 13, 2012 |
Fall is upon us, so brewers are making pumpkin ales. Boston Beer Co. has been offering one for a long time, Samuel Adams Harvest Ale, which is notable for using English hops and both caramel and smoked malts in the mash. And pumpkin, of course. Harvest Ale throws 17 pounds of pumpkin into each barrel. This year the brewery is trying out a version that punches up the pumpkin. Fat Jack uses 28 pounds per barrel (the pumpkin contributing a little sugar as well as its flavor). Batch No. 1 pours dark red amber, almost mahogany color, with a high yellowish tan head.
October 13, 2012 |
I promise you this isn't a story about dog treats. If you've been dining out at some of L.A.'s hippest chef-driven restaurants lately, you might have noticed a recurring ingredient on the menu. Pig ears. You heard me, pig ears. Recently, at the L.A. Times Taste event, I decided to serve a pig ear terrine dish from my restaurant Lukshon. Cold, thinly sliced pig ears marinated in black vinegar, Sichuan spices and white sesame oil with thin slices of pickled carrots and scallions.
October 8, 2012 |
When you want to add a little extra depth to a recipe, consider toasting the nuts or spices before adding them to a dish. Toasting helps to release the flavor and oils in the spices and nuts, lending depth and wonderfully rich flavor to a dish. Toast whole spices on the stove top using a heavy-bottomed saute pan over moderate heat. Toast the spices, stirring them or shaking the pan frequently, so they toast evenly. Watch the pan closely, so the spices don't burn. A few minutes is all it should take to bring out the flavors; you'll know they're ready when you can smell them.
September 24, 2012 |
Nothing can kill a good recipe faster than a lack of spice. Even kitchen staples such as dried herbs and spices have an expiration date and can lose their potency over time. Properly stored, spices can last a year or two at most, with whole spices generally lasting longer than ground. Store your spices in a cool, dry place, away from moisture and keep them tightly sealed. Whenever I open a new spice jar, I date the back so I can keep tabs on how long it's been open. Once a year, I'll rummage through the collection and check on them.