Food Librarian's 15 minutes! Los Angeles Times Food Section Photo

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Los Angeles Times Food Section

As usual, I woke up this morning and grabbed the paper. It's Thursday so it's Los Angeles Times Food Section day!

And guess what's in it? A great piece on Los Angeles photographer, food blogger and author Matt Armendariz of MattBites. Love his blog and just got his book, On A Stick.

Los Angeles Times Food Section little photo! The Los Angeles Times asks readers to submit photos when they make something from LA Times Test Kitchen. I recently made the yummy Lemon Blueberry Buckle.

Thanks for featuring my photo Los Angeles Times and Rene Lynch!!! You should make the recipe too. Here is the original post with recipe!
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Japanese Cultural Institute Carnival in Gardena, CA

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

JCI Carnival Header
Japanese Cultural Institute (JCI) Carnival in Gardena, CA

My friend JustJenn and I were hanging out on Sunday and she looked at her iPhone. She said, "Oh, the JCI Carnival is this weekend."


That was my car and my scream. My car sprinted to Gardena to hit up the "carnival of my youth." I have so many childhood memories from this annual affair. The Japanese Cultural Institute (JCI) in Gardena (South Bay area of the Los Angeles region) has been going on forever. A few things have been added and changed, but so much of it remains exactly the same. And that's fantastic. The JCI offers Japanese language classes, senior activities, cultural classes and sport groups. 

JCI Carnival 4
Of course, I go for the festival foods. Chirashi sushi is my absolute favorite. It's sushi rice with a bunch of toppings. Somen salad is cold somen noodles with a dipping sauce, and the imagawayaki is a pancake filled with sweet red beans.

JCI collage 3
My peep's donut! The Okinawan Andagi or Dango is a festival favorite...just look for the long line. It is a big donut hole of goodness. I like to spend my summer visiting as many festivals as possible...all to get dangos! The Japanese American-founded Buddhist Churches in the area have annual Obon festivals and they always have dangos too. See this post for my tour of a Obon festival in 2009, and my mom's recipe for dango.

JCI carnival 2
Every JA festival has a plant and vegetable section. I believe every group has a member who owns or works at a nursery. Actually, there is a long history of Japanese American gardeners and farmers in California (check out this book). My grandfather worked in the sugar cane fields of Hawaii, farmed in Central California and then became a gardener in Los Angeles. Last year, I bought a house plant at an Obon festival at a Buddhist church...and it is still alive!! I don't know if the Buddhist priest blessed it, but now I'm buying all my house plants at these carnivals!

The youth break dancing class performed too! I'm sure one of these kids will be on my favorite show, ABDC someday!

JCI Carnival 1
Like I said, the JCI Carnival is filled with childhood memories. All these old school carnival games. They used to have a dime toss and gave away glass cups and dishes (holy smokes, I'm sure they were filled with lead and other hazards). Anyway, I loved this game and would break my piggy bank gathering dimes. One day, my folks were at my brother's soccer game in Orange County and I stayed at home. I was doing the dishes and one of these super thin glasses broke in my hand. My neighbor was a police officer so I went over to show him my cut. Remember, I'm 40 so when I was young we had rotary phones and cell phones were only on the Jetsons. My neighbor knew someone on the force in the OC and they SENT UNIFORMED POLICE OFFICERS TO THE SOCCER GAME. Yes, they walked around the field saying, "We are looking for the parents of Mary." Holy Smokes! My mom still tells me this story and how she nearly had a heart attack right there on the field. Anyway, I got 5 or 6 stitches and still have a small scar on my finger...and great memories of the JCI Carnival. And I didn't have to do the dishes for a whole month.

I hope you are enjoying your summer visiting carnivals and festivals (and of course, participating in your library's summer reading program!!). If you are in Los Angeles and want to eat some Japanese American festival food, check out the Obon schedule!
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Foodbuzz 24 x 24: Lessons from a Pastry Chef

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rosie Title
Lessons from a Pastry Chef

My friend's daughter, Rosie is a recent graduate of the Baking and Pastry Arts program at the prestigious Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. Tyler Florence is an alum! She earned her Associates degree and is heading back for her Bachelor's degree. On Saturday, I threw a "learning" party where my friends and I baked with this newly minted pastry chef!

Rosie Her Bread
Instead of bringing her beautiful portfolio to the party to impress all the guests, Rosie brought this Totally Awesome bread she made! Rosie's got skills.

Chef Rosie completed a study abroad program in France during her studies. Every great chef needs to be able to teach others the craft, and Rosie did a great job at the party! We made two of her favorite items: entremets and breads!

Rosie Chocolate 1
Chocolate Mousse entremets. It is like eating delicious chocolate ice cream but it's not frozen! And we made it ourselves! Even better!

Rosie raspberry 1
Entremets can have a zillion layers and Rosie has made some amazing entremets. Since we were novices and pressed for time (it wasn't a slumber party), we decided to make ours simple...but no less delicious! Our entremets had a layer of yellow cake (we used Flour Bakery's yellow cake recipe), raspberry or chocolate mousse, and the raspberry one was topped with a raspberry mirror glaze.

Rosie Mousse
We made Raspberry and Chocolate Mousse Entremets (such a fancy word that I think I'll use it twenty times in this post). I've known Rosie since she was THREE years old when her mom and I worked together in Los Angeles!

Rosie Mousse 1
To make the mousse, we combined lots of yolks, sugar, milk. It was heated up, strained and softened gelatin sheets were added. This was my first use of gelatin sheets. They don't smell like powdered gelatin. I'm so moving over to these sheets (purchased at Surfas)! We split the batter and added sweetened fresh raspberry puree to one, and melted 60% chocolate to the other. After it cooled, lots and lots of whipped cream is folded in.

Rosie Mousse 2
Well, do you feel you were at the party?! We took a lot of photos for this step-by-step collage. All the guests had a lot of fun trying their hand making these cute desserts. The chocolate one had a secondary piece of cake (cut out smaller so the edges aren't shown), while the raspberry one had three fresh raspberries inside. Of course, Rosie was the best at leveling them off.

Lessons from Pastry Chef Rosie

Rosie Bread 3
We made ciabatta and focaccia bread with the same dough! Oh, so versatile. We made focaccia with fresh tomatoes, caramelized onions, and green and purple bell peppers.

Rosie Bread making
The making of the bread is two step: Poolish and Final Dough. Because the poolish or sponge needs 14 hours to ferment, Rosie made that the day before and brought it to the party. Then we scaled the rest of the dough ingredients and popped it all in the Kitchen Aid.

Rosie Bread 2
The ciabatta needs to get "folded" five times. I've never done this before but it was totally cool. After resting for 30 minutes in a covered container, our "dough baby" is pulled out and folded over. Five folds are needed. We kept track with blue tape and a sharpie - two must have items in the kitchen. During this process, Rosie answered all our baking questions...nothing like a private baking tutoring session!

Rosie Bread 4
Ahh...fresh bread! Since we were baking all day, we had a simple dinner party - chicken, salad, delicious fresh bread and, of course, awesome dessert made by US!

Rosie Thank you
Thank you so much Rosie! Love ya! I know one day you'll be even more famous than your fellow alum Tyler! And thanks to Foodbuzz for sponsoring this awesome party!

Ciabatta bread
Chocolate & Raspberry Mousse Entremets
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Mozzarella, Tomato and Strawberry Salad - French Fridays with Dorie

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mozzarella, Tomato and Strawberry Salad
Mozzarella, Tomato and Strawberry Salad

This week, the French Fridays with Dorie group made Mozzarella, Tomato and Strawberry Salad from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook Around my French Table.

I love food on a stick. Corn dogs, Okinawan dangos from Obon festivals (which are starting now!!), Mango with chili powder. Of course, Pocky is the edible stick food too. Nom nom. Dorie makes her salad on a plate...but I went for the portable salad.

Mozzarella, Tomato and Strawberry Salad
Unlike my dad, I don't have a very green thumb. I kill plants often with neglect (what? I have to water the plant?!). But I was at Trader Joe's this morning and saw that a box of basil was $3 and the basil plant was also $3. I decided to try my hand at "gardening" again and picked up the plant. Don't be expecting bushels of pesto from me, but I hope I can keep it alive during my dad's upcoming tomato season.

Mozzarella, Tomato and Strawberry Salad
This recipe is so simple... strawberries, tomatoes, mozzarella, salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Couldn't be easier and more tasty. The sweetness of the strawberries goes perfectly with the cheese and tomato.

Be sure to check out my fellow French Fridays with Dorie members and see their creations!

Please note: French Fridays with Dorie will not be posting recipes. Please support Dorie and purchase the book or find it at your library.

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Cherry Orange Muffins

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cherry Orange Muffins
Cherry Orange Muffins

Cherry season has a special place in my heart. I remember going cherry picking with my brother when we were kids. I don't remember picking any cherries (I think the grown ups were on the ladders) but I remember eating mounds of them. They are also one of the first summer fruits to arrive at my farmer's market...thereby signaling the start of my favorite stone fruit season.

I don't bake with cherries much...I'm too busy eating them raw! :) I prefer the hard, dark cherries over the rainier cherries. Sorry if I have some typos in the post...I'm busy eating cherries while typing!

Cherry Orange Muffins collage 1
I adapted a blueberry muffin with streusel. I think if you scatter some streusel on top of a shoe, it would be tasty. Forget pixie dust, Tinkerbell should sprinkle streusel on everything. That'll bring world peace - for sures.

Cherry Orange Muffins
One cup of pitted and quartered cherries along with the zest of one Golden Nuggest mandarin tangerine.

Cherry Orange Muffins
Bring these into a meeting and you won't have to take minutes. Guaranteed.

Cidney - May 2011
Here's a photo of Cidney the Girl Dog. She had absolutely nothing to do with the making of these cupcakes. I keep trying to teach her how to do the dishes, vacuum and laundry, but she mumbles something about "my lack of thumbs." Whatever. Anyway, she's in this blog post because she's cute. And that's always a good thing to read about, no?

Cherry Orange Muffins
Stop yourself from eating a cup of cherries and make these muffins!

Cherry Orange Muffins

Printable recipe here
Cherry Orange Muffins
Adapted from "Blueberry Muffins" from the beautiful Sarabeth's Bakery book

Streusel (page 62 of her lovely book)
6 T all-purpose flour
1 T superfine sugar
1 T light brown sugar
1/8 t ground cinnamon
2 1/2 T unsalted butter, melted
1/4 t vanilla extract

Mix together in a small bowl until crumbly. Set aside until ready to use.

Adapted from the Blueberry Crumb Muffins - makes 12 cherry muffins

1 large orange (I used a golden nugget mandarin)
2/3 cup corn oil (I used a light olive oil)
1/2 cup plus 1 T whole milk
2 large eggs, room tep
2 1/4 c bread flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 t fine sea salt (I used kosher salt)
1 cup cherries, pitted and quartered (the blueberry recipes calls for 1 C fresh or frozen blueberries)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I used paper liners in 12 muffin cups
2. Zest the orange. Set aside zest.
3. Juice the orange to get 1/3 cup juice.
4. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt).
5. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a medium bowl (oil, milk, OJ, zest, eggs).
6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Don't overmix.
7. Fold in cherries.
8. Scoop into muffin cups. Sprinkle with streusel.
9. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce temp to 375 and bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean - 15 more minutes or so.
10. Cool in pan for a few minutes then remove to cool completely. Enjoy!

Sarabeth says you can also use raspberries (fresh or frozen) in this recipe. So adaptable! You should put her lovely cookbook on your wish list!

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Date-Nut Loaf - Tuesdays with Dorie

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Date-Nut Loaf - Tuesdays with Dorie
Date-Nut Loaf

For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection, Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet picked Date-Nut Loaf of Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

My buddy Mary got to pick another Tuesdays with Dorie treat. (We made our way through all the bakers and some lucky bakers won a random drawing to pick again!)

Date-Nut Loaf - Tuesdays with Dorie
I made 1/4 the recipe and got three mini loaves. Aren't these cute?

Date-Nut Loaf - Tuesdays with Dorie
One of the perks of making 1/4th of the recipe? That you have a leftover bag of dates to snack on! Have you had a date shake? Deliciousness. 

Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers and see their creations!

Date-Nut Loaf - Tuesdays with Dorie
My loaves were filled with dates and walnuts...but you can use any dried fruits and nuts.

Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet blog,
or, Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours (page 228)
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Lemon Blueberry Buckle - Los Angeles Times Food Section

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Buckle
Lemon Blueberry Buckle

Love the Los Angeles Times Food Section! Always yummy recipes, stories, reviews, spotlights on Southern Cal's farmers market and local produce.

This Lemon blueberry buckle appeared in the Los Angeles Times Food Section in May 2009. It is adapted from "Rustic Fruit Desserts" by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. This is a fruit cake, crumb topping and a lemon glaze on top. Oh yes, crumb topping with lemon glaze. Deliciousness.

Lemon Blueberry Buckle collage 1
The buckle is a simple cake with half the blueberries folded into the batter and the rest sprinkled on top. A crumb mixture tops the batter and then it's baked for 45-50 minutes.

Lemon Blueberry Buckle
After the cake is removed from the oven, a warm glaze of sugar and lemon juice is poured over the cake. I took the syrup a bit too far and it caramelized a bit so it was a little dark, but it didn't matter.

Lemon Blueberry Buckle
I brought this into the library and my co-worker did one of those smiling side-to-side sway thank yous. "Oh, it has everything I like. [sway hip to one side] Fruit and that crumbly topping! [sway hip to other side]." I wish I had video. So, make this cake and you'll get people dancing around the office.

Lemon blueberry buckle
Los Angeles Times, Originally published May 27, 2009
Adapted from "Rustic Fruit Desserts" by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson
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Congratulations Emily! UCSB Alum!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Emily graduation
Congratulations Emily!!! I've known Emily since she was 4 years old and in preschool. On Sunday, she graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara UCSB with a BA in History. Congratulations to a wonderful and brilliant young woman!

Here are some photos from a lovely day. Graduations are awesome. Filled with multiple generations of pride, love and a bit of sunburn. Congrats Emily! She's heading off to the University of York for a graduate program in September!

Emily UCSB collage 4 Mom
Super proud Mom and her sisters! Helen only cried once during the ceremony. :)

Emily UCSB Grad collage Dad/Becky & Class Ring
Emily showing off her "we need to get our gowns & library books back and make sure you passed your finals before you get the real diploma" certificate with her dad and stepmom. Emily showing off her class ring.

Emily Graduation collage 3 Dad
Super proud Dad. Look at him sitting on the edge of his seat during the ceremony!

Emily Graduation collage 2 Andy
Did you see the sash with the UK and English flags? That signifies Emily's EAP Study Abroad in England. Besides learning all about Renaissance...Emily met her boyfriend, Andy! Andy flew out from England to attend the graduation!

Emily Graduation collage 1 Sisters
Sister Love! Older sis Alison and Younger sis Rosie!
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Chocolate Biscotti - Tuesdays with Dorie

Chocolate Biscotti - Tuesdays with Dorie
Chocolate Biscotti
For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection, Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes picked Chocolate Biscotti from Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.
Chocolate Biscotti - Tuesdays with Dorie
I used raw almonds (chopped a bit) and mini chocolate chips. Next time, I'm going to add dried cherries...that would be awesomeness.

Chocolate Biscotti collage
Biscotti are twice baked cookies. Bake off a log, let cool for a bit and then cut and bake on its side. This finishes the baking and dries them out...making them crunchy. I like to leave a bit of "soft" in the center.

Chocolate Biscotti - Tuesdays with Dorie
Grab a couple biscotti and a cup of coffee or tea. Nothing better.

Chocolate Biscotti - Tuesdays with Dorie
Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers and see their creations!

Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes blog,
or, Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours (page 144)
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Granola with Persimmons & Ginger

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Persimmon and Ginger Granola
Granola with Persimmons & Ginger 

My friend Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet made granola using some dried fuyu persimmons I sent her in a West Coast care package. Hopefully, she can send me back just a little heat as we going through a June Gloom time here in LA. We call ourselves "East Coast" Mary and "West Coast" Mary.

My dad's fuyu persimmons just say "Fall" to me as well as ginger and gingery foods. Having just watched  Kung Fu Panda 2, I was thinking about Yin & Yang. I decided to combine fall granola (filled with dried persimmon, crystallized ginger, dried cranberries and cinnamon & ground ginger spices) with summer fruits. Yin and Yang. Yum and Yum.

Persimmon and Ginger Granola
Darn, I love me granola. I made this with Maple Syrup that East Coast Mary sent me in an East Coast care package! My granola has 4 cups of oats and 1/2 cup maple syrup and 1/4 cup oil. I've seen granolas with a lot more sweet stuff and oil but I wanted mine light. That's why you don't see the big clumps found in traditional granolas.

Persimmon and Ginger Granola
In less than an hour, you get a big bowl of granola. I made this pretty yogurt, fruit and granola parfait. Take that McDonald's. I also like to eat a bowl of granola with soy milk for breakfast...or when watching TV!

The combo of sweet fruit and the nice kick of ground ginger and crystallized ginger is my absolute favorite.

Persimmon and Ginger Granola
Granola. Make some today.

Printable recipe
Dried Fuyu Persimmon and Ginger Granola
4 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 c maple syrup
1/4 c vegetable or light olive oil

1 c nuts (sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts) (If these are toasted, you can add them after the oats are baked, or you can add untoasted nuts during the last 10-15 minutes of baking)

1/4 c dried fuyu persimmon (diced)...if your dad doesn't make these for you each year, you can sub any other dried fruit
1/4 c crystallized ginger, diced very small
1/2 c dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 325 to 350 degrees F. (I used 325 convection oven and 350 regular oven in the past...use what works for you). Line two sheet pans with foil for easy clean up. Lightly spray with Pam.
2. Mix together oats, spices and salt in bowl. Mix together the maple syrup and oil together in a measuring cup. Pour over oats and stir to coat.
3. Spread on prepared sheet pans.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Add nuts during last 15 minutes of cooking.
5. After oats and nut cool, add the dried fruit.
6. Store in an air-tight container. Eat with milk or yogurt.
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