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Everything posted by JFLinLA

  1. Everyone -- Thanks again and a belated report. I drained the apples (mix of granny's and honey crisp), boiled that down to a syrup and added it back in and mixed with potato starch. It came out great. Juicy and tart but no puddle of liquid. Honestly, I think the draining method is what makes all the difference. It's so basic and common sense that I can't believe I never figured this out or found int before in all me years of baking. Thanks again.
  2. Thanks everyone. Yes, I do always let the pie cool. You've given me many other good ideas. Think I'll try draining the apple mixture first and then reducing the liquid. I've got some potato starch so I may try that as well.
  3. Getting ready to bake the apple pie (among other things) for Thanksgiving. We like ours pretty tart but that's another matter. My worry is of course cutting into the pie and have a puddle of liquid come pouring out. I've always done it the old fashioned way by tossing flour into the apples and the results are never dependable. I get that. Was wondering about thoughts on using potato starch, corn starch, tapioca or something else. And is there any "rule of thumb" for such a substitution such as -- for every tablespoon of flour substitute x amount of potato starch (or other). Oh, and I'll probably use granny smith apples or a combo of those with a bit of golden delicious thrown in. I'm in Southern California where we get great produce but it's not really apple country here. Any other thoughts? And thanks for the help.
  4. What? Nobody recommended Mozza? That's the place to go if you want to sample some Nancy Silverton/Mario Batali and, to keep more with your budget, it's the Cafe you want. Also, some folks can better recommend than I what choices you might want for "latin" type food whether that's from different regions of Mexico, or different countries in Central America. Of course, Pink's on La Brea is classic for hot dogs or Father's Office (original location on Montana Ave in Santa Monica or the newer location in Culver City) for an upscale burger. Of course, if you're a chef and at Father's Office in Culver City, wander down the block to Surfas for the very best ever supply warehouse. You could blow your whole food budget there.
  5. Thanks all. Made 2 non-boozy versions of the boozy french toast. Both with a good dollop of vanilla and some almond extract. Added lemon zest and sliver almonds to one of them. After the kids left for the prom, we came home and had everything pre-staged, including placing the boys sleeping bags in one room downstairs and the girls stuff upstairs. My daughter called at 2:30 AM to let me know they were preparing to come back. Took the french toast out of the fridge and began heating the oven. While the oven was heating and then the baking, pulled the OJ, grapefruit juice, milk, and cut-up fruit out of the refrigerator. Dishware was already out. Everything finished baking and was lined up as the kids rolled in about 3:15 AM. They were tired but really lovely. They all loved the french toast but preferred the more plain version. The house quieted back down by 4:30. About 8:30, I went back to the kitchen, took the juices, milk and fruit back out of the fridge and set out bagels, cream cheese, lox mix & butter for all to help themselves. Though the first one left at 6:00 AM, they really began leaving in stages at about 9:30. By noon, it was just back to us, our daughter and her out of town friend who was staying with us. We had a very lazy afternoon with a lot of napping. Again, many thanks. This is the way to go for a great prepare ahead dish.
  6. Early, early this coming Saturday morning, a bunch of 18 year-olds will descend on my house after the prom and the after-prom. I've promised to feed them before they all crash (yes, girls and boys in separate rooms). What can I have ready to pop into the oven when I get the call that they're on the way over. That could be anywhere between 2:00 and 4:00 AM and I expect 8-12 kids. I could put out cold muffins or bagels but I'm not that kind of mom. However, I do not want to be frying something up at the last minute. I'll add some fresh fruit and juice and the like. Thanks and send along recipes or links to them. (Where did the time go?)
  7. Here's a blog written by a friend of mine about dining largely, though not exclusively, in downtown LA.The Amateur Enthusiast
  8. Well you just have to wander up Figueroa to the "Original Pantry." Really for breakfast but it's an LA institution. And, while you are in the area, wander up to Figueroa & 7th and hop on the Red Line, go 1 stop to MacArthur Park and walk half a block to Langers for arguably the best pastrami in the US (yes, some in NYC will even admit that grudgingly when nobody is looking). Again, that's not for dinner. For breakfast, lunch or dinner, my new personal favorite is Bottega Louie at 7th & Hope. It's loud but good. That said, any particular kind of food you are looking for.
  9. Well now I'll have to try the food processor for making challah dough. And my favorite is the Lauren Groveman recipe that's in Baking with Julia. I've been using it forever. That said, you can give yourself a lot of flexibility by making the dough (in whatever piece of equipment you want) and putting it in the refrigerator for all the rises. A typical schedule for me is: - Make the dough at night & chill in the fridge - Punch it down in the morning, put it back in the fridge and go to work - Take out the dough upon arriving back home and shape immediately or let it warm a bit and then shape. Cover and back in the fridge. - Early the next morning, wander to the fridge bleary-eyed, place the unbaked challah on the counter still covered. Return to bed and then take a shower or straight to the shower. Maybe get oven pre-heating at this time. - After the shower, wander back to the kitchen with towel on head, glaze and put in pre-heated oven. Finish getting ready while challah bakes. - Remove from oven and leave on counter to cool. Go to work. Return home to a freshly baked challah. Yum. Another great trick is to put an already shaped challah on a parchment lined tray in the freezer. Once it's frozen solid, wrap it tight for later use. When it's time, remove from the wrapper, place back on a tray lined with parchment (and corn meal if you like) and cover with a towel. It will take several hours to thaw and rise. It will depend on how big it is, how warm in your kitchen, etc. Then bake as usual.
  10. Have you checked out Bed, Bath & Beyond? There's also a "bar supply" place in West LA on one of those streets between Sepulveda & the 405. I can see it in my mind, just north of Pico. Sorry, don't know what it's called.
  11. My kids were required to take a 1 semester "life skills" course before finishing High School. (The youngest is about to graduate.) It included things like basics of balancing a check book but no basic cooking. Perhaps that could include a short 2-3 week unit on shopping and cooking. Of course they were also required to take a 1 semester health course. Cooking (not home ec) was a 1 semester course option that counted toward a tech arts requirement.
  12. Can I just say that apart from the food politics, I'm actually enjoying this show. Maybe it's a bit of a guilty pleasure but I do and I'm rooting for those kids that cooked the meal with him. Even with my kids nearly out of the house, I've always worked and always cooked. Weekday dinners are good but simple things that I can get on the table relatively quickly after walking in the door at about 6:00. At least one night a week we bring food in and another night we have "review of the week" (aka leftovers). And, when all else is beyond me, I keep staples in the pantry and refrigerator. (Perhaps that's a skill worth teaching. Before you can "throw something together," it helps to know how to shop and what staples to have on hand. But I digress.) I'll prepare more time consuming things on the weekend or use the time to get some things pre-ready for use later. (At the moment, I have too much chicken stock in my freezer.) But then, I like to cook and bake. I grew up in a home where my mom worked at least some of the time. She was a good and somewhat adventurous home cook. And, we all had to do something from setting the table to doing the dishes to washing & drying the lettuce or even "getting things started" when we were home alone in the afternoons as teens. While they have some way to go, I'd like to believe that my kids have the basics to get started in their early adult life and go from there. Till then, I'm rooting for Jamie and the folks in West Virginia and all the working moms, school kids and lunch ladies everywhere.
  13. My sister-in-law just confirmed that she will do the 1st night. Their house has better space for this. So that means that, once again, I'm dessert girl. I've developed my list of standard and yummy Passover desserts that can generally be considered cookies. Actually, Passover or not, I long ago tired of making cakes and such and having everyone pass or take just a sliver and leave most of it on their plate. Not that I'm trying to get people fat but if I make a cake, it's there to be eaten. It has been my experience however that people will eat things if you give them stuff they can pick up and eat with their hands. Among my "standard" Passover desserts are: Almond macaroons Coconut macaroons Chocolate-almond brownie bites Brown-sugar pecan macaroons Meringue "kisses" of various flavors Matzah brittle etc, etc, etc. I am looking at various cake/torte type recipes because I do enjoy making them. And, of course, Grandma's matzah farfel muffins but those are savory to eat before and during the meal. Now to think about the 2nd night when we're back home.
  14. JFLinLA


    Yet LA Magazine just named it #6 of the top ten best new restaurants in LA.
  15. Just thought I'd pop this to the top of the list as it's just about 2 weeks to go. What are you thinking about for the holiday?
  16. JFLinLA


    Once again, I "honcho'ed" the hamantashen assembly line last Sunday. This was with the temple youth group kids in preparation for the carnival this weekend. Unfortunately there were only 4 kids who participated. However, we made about 300 that were frozen. The unused dough and fillings were put in the temple fridge and, I'm told, someone else took it from there. We made the usual and the newer flavors -- poppy, prune, apricot, raspberry, Nutella & pecan-caramel. We ran out of time and interest before we got to the almond filling. This is the last time I do this 'cuz the youngest kid (who is youth group president) is graduating this year. However, I will still make mine. But, this week was nuts so I didn't make any but will this weekend using my preferred yeasted dough.
  17. Which one of the Drago's did you go to. There are a few.
  18. LA's a big place. Could you narrow down the general area of town you'll be in?
  19. Okay, since RJ is out of the country right now, I'll ask the questions he would ask (aside from price which you've already covered). How are you planning to get around? LA is vast and you can get to many places by walking or transit easily in the Santa Monica area and have really great food. More options are available if you have a car for some or all of the time. And, how far are you willing to travel which, in LA, really means how long are you willing to spend traveling to and from food? There's amazing Chinese, for instance, if you're willing to go to the San Gabriel Valley but that's really, really far. On the other hand, you might just be the kind of person willing to go 1-2 hours out of your way for great Chinese food.
  20. Biscotti hold well made ahead of time. Cookie dough freezes really well. Either freeze logs to slice & bake later. Or make drop cookies, freeze lumps of unbaked dough on parchment, then pop into zip-lock bag. Bake right from freezer. Brownie/bar cookies generally freeze really well. Just bake, cool completely, do NOT slice, wrap well (in several layers) & freeze. Thaw, still well wrapped, on the counter, then slice. Cheesecake also works well. Bake, cool, wrap well (I would box so wrapping doesn't stick, then wrap box in several layers) & freeze. This time, move wrapped package to fridge to thaw and slice with clean knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry. Cheesecake squares are great for this.
  21. Carolyn -- Looking forward to hearing about Bar Pintxo. lhollers -- I think Il Grano is in West LA rather than in Santa Monica proper, if we're being technical. If you want to stay in Santa Monica and price is no object, besides Melisse, Michaels is a classic as is Valentino's. And, if you want your Wolfgang Puck fix, there's Chinois on Main. All are in different parts of Santa Monica but nevertheless . . . In the somewhat more frugal category, lately we've had lovely meals at Santa Monica Seafood (I love the cioppino). Also enjoy brunch/lunch next door at Huckleberry. The table wait is sometimes annoying (order at the counter, wait for a table to be available, then wait till your food is delivered) but the food has always been good. If you're in that area, wander up the street for this hole in the wall Russian/Polish (I know, they'll be insulted 'cuz I didn't get it exactly right) deli/market with amazing sausage. It's the one on the south side of the street though there is another Russian market on the diagonally across the intersection. If you want to cross the city line -- such as for Il Grano or something else, there are even more options.
  22. I love profiteroles. Once for Thanksgiving I made them filled with pumpkin ice cream and caramel sauce. Delicious. However, the ice cream was home made so, for your purposes, wouldn't travel well.
  23. In the last few years, I have come to love my silicone coated rolling pin. First it's really heavy which is helpful and of course the silicone reduces risk of sticking. I will still use my trusty old wooden french rolling pin from time to time. And, here's another trick -- dental floss. I keep some unflavored floss in the kitchen. Once the rolled dough starts getting too large to lift, if it starts to stick anywhere I just run the floss under the dough and voila, good to go again with small dusting of flour in the offending spot.
  24. I haven't seen the movie yet but here's one thing I found ironic. The story about the movie that appeared in the LA Times, was in the Entertainment Section yet focused a great deal on Nora Ephron, her love of food, and problems she encountered in making Julia's french apple tart at home. That story is here. Meanwhile, the the story in the New York Times, appeared in the Food Section and was mostly about the technical issues of showing food and food preparation in the movie, and the role of food stylists in this and in other movies. In other words, the story in the entertainment section (here in tinsel town) focused a great deal about food and food preparation. However, another paper put the story in the Food Section and focused more on the technicalities of making the movie. I just found that interesting. Nothing wrong with it. Just saying . . .
  25. JFLinLA

    Frozen Cooked Shrimp

    Whatever you do, defrost in the fridge, preferably in a sieve over a bowl. You may want to rinse and pat dry after that.
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