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Hip Jam In Silver Lake

August 10th, 2015

Ricotta toast_2If you should find yourself visiting a much-more-hip-than-you relative in the much-more-hip-than-where-you-live section of L.A. called Silver Lake, stop in at a wee restaurant called Sqirl. It’s worth the humiliation of being the least hip person in the neighborhood on a Friday afternoon.

Sqirl is famous for their jams (like Santa Rosa Plum and Flowering Thyme, or Shady Lady Tomato) but the menu rocks with lots of other treats, some vegan, some decidedly not, like the Famed Ricotta Toast, which was my pick. (I loaded it with Snow Queen Nectarine jam.)

I told my daughter I could eat it every day for breakfast. She pointed out that if I did so I would end up the size of a house.

So, no, I won’t be having this every day for breakfast. But I will have it again next time I cross the hipness border into Silver Lake.

P.S. You can also by Sqirl jams at The Cheese Store in Beverly Hills.

P.S.S. If you are more ambitious than I you can make this at home. After you have made your own brioche and made your own ricotta, toast a massive slice of the brioche, schemer it with your lovely homemade cheese and then with jam. Invite me over to share it with you or you will end up the size of a you-know-what.





How To Stuff A Wild Zucchini

August 4th, 2015

zucchiniMy younger daughter recently outed herself as the culprit in the zucchini mystery of 2007.

One evening while poking around the linen closet I found a mummified slice of zucchini under a stack of beach towels. I believe the unusual disposal of an unwanted vegetable was originally blamed on my older daughter Elizabeth But last week, her younger sister owned up as the perpetrator. Apparently she found the poor zucchini unpalatable and was too young to have developed the more sophisticated system of flushing it down the toilet, so she hid it.

No disciplinary measures will be taken as I believe there is a statute of limitations on these things.

Now they are grown and live in apartments with lots of closet space in which to deposit unsatisfactory vegetables. But if they do drop by for dinner, I like to dress up the zucchini just a little to preempt further misdemeanors. This recipe is very easy and adds instant appeal to what some consider an otherwise boring vegetable.

If I ever find this amongst my linens I will be very surprised.


2 medium zucchini

¼ cup freshly grated Parmigian0-Reggiano, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

½ cup panko bread crumbs

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil


Preheat the oven to 425º F.

Trim the ends off the zucchini. Cut each in half lengthwise. Score the center pulp of the zucchini and then scoop it out with a teaspoon, leaving a shell about ¼ inch thick. Place the pulp in a bowl. Add half the cheese, a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper, the walnuts and thyme leaves and mix well.

Fill the cavities of the zucchini with the filling. Sprinkle each with an equal amount of read crumbs. Sprinkle again with a little salt and pepper and drizzle a half teaspoon of oil over each. Sprinkle each piece with some of the remaining cheese.

Place the zucchini pieces on a baking sheet and bake for twenty minutes, until the zucchini is tender and the topping is crispy.

Let cool briefly and serve.



Kleen Queen (Green)

July 27th, 2015

KleenQueen2After the flood of 2015, I had some serious kleening up to do. Unwilling to spend a week inhaling Lysol fumes, I knew I would have to consult with  the Great Counselor Of All Things for advice on a kleening product that would not kill me due to overdose of some noxious chemical.

The G. C. O. A. T. (okay, Google) pointed me in the direction of a recipe from Real Simple magazine for an all-purpose spray cleaner that you could almost drink (if you happened to have a taste for rubbing alcohol and vinegar.) It left my surfaces smelling like something much lovelier than backed up plumbing and clean as a whistle. (I have never understood that expression. Since when is a whistle clean? All those people blowing on it all the time? Please. P.S. Am I turning into Howard Hughes?)

Anyway, try this in your flooded or not-so-flooded living quarters and I guarantee you will be pleased with the result and will not keel over from chemical fumes. I actually would not drink it unless you are on a desert island and choices are limited.

Kleen Queen (Green) All-Purpose Cleaner

4 cups water

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup rubbing alcohol

10 drops peppermint essential oil


Combine the ingredients and pour into a spray bottle. Kleen everything, then drink a martini and take a load off.



EVO And Yogurt Cake (Comfort Food)

July 21st, 2015


EVOCake2After the Great Flood of ’15—well, it was considered Great in my house, when a veritable toilet tsunami decimated a sizeable area of my once gracious living quarters—I felt the need for comfort food. After some dreary exchanges with insurance types and remediation contactors, my thoughts turned to Dorie Greenspan’s EVO And Yogurt Cake. It seemed like a must.

Not only is it comforting in a way that only something densely vanilla can be, but it happens to be stunningly easy to make, which gives it singular appeal right at this moment when I feel I can only address small tasks, having addressed too many big ones already today.

Whether or not you ever have a Great Flood in your house—you can read more about mine here—keep this recipe on hand for other current or future comfort needs. It works.

You can find it here, but roughly, it goes like this:



Preheat the oven to 350º. Butter a loaf pan.

Combine 1 ½ cup flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt.

In another bowl, place 1 cup sugar and the zest of one lime (although I used orange.) Rub the sugar and zest together with your fingers until the sugar is fragrant. Then mix in ½ cup plain whole ilk yogurt, 3 eggs and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla until smooth. Then fold in ½ cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).

Pour batter into the pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, until golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Eat your troubles away.


Sunday Hash

June 6th, 2015

I am currently in a cooking rut.

This happens occasionally. I cook something new that accommodates the tastes of my diners, decide I like it very much, and then, too lazy to come up with a fresh idea that caters to everybody’s extreme pickiness, I repeat the recipe until I feel like I am in the movie, Groundhog day and change is essential. I just completed such a cycle with Sunday Hash. Read More


PTSD (Peas Trigger Scott’s Distemper)

May 31st, 2015

Birdseye2A few weeks ago I got an email from my bother-in-law Scott who was in a highly agitated state. He told me he had been the victim of fraud perpetrated by the Bird’s Eye Company. Read More


Mom’s Short Ribs (aka Stringy Meat)

May 7th, 2015

MOM at 95 3_4 When my siblings and I were growing up, my mother was a miraculous cook—every night she procured dinner for eight people. Among our favorite meals was what we called “stringy meat,” which was any kind of meat that was cooked long and slow until it was a fork-tender, pull-apart, deliciously stringy thing. Read More


Spicy Chicken Tacos

April 28th, 2015

photoThe good thing about this recipe is you can make most of the components in advance and then just throw your tacos together in fifteen minutes, which allows you time to relax and watch the PBS News Hour while you dine. Read More


Scenic Salad With Lime Basil Dressing

April 20th, 2015

photoThis salad is what happened on Saturday night when I was cleaning out my vegetable drawer. If you had something re thrilling to do that evening, you probably have a better life coach than I do. Read More


CCC’s Twisted Sister

April 9th, 2015

CCCsBrownButterYou’ve eaten too many chocolate chip cookies in your lifetime. In the last year alone, you have had enough of them to satisfy the dessert needs of an entire state, say, Indiana, for a week. And that includes the catering of several gay weddings. Read More

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