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The Pig-n-Fig at Earl's Gourmet Grub (Mar Vista, CA)

There are exactly two classes and one final exam between me and graduation.  Until bar prep begins, I'm enjoying the sunshine!  Eating outdoors!  Taking long drives!  Going to the beach!  I've celebrated a friend's birthday outdoors, stood next to Joy the Baker at Whole Foods and was too scared to say hi (she confirmed via Twitter that it was in fact her), tended to my balcony plants, and chatted with Yvonne and Dean, the warm, wonderful people behind Earl's Gourmet Grub.

Liz said LA rewards people who stay here a long time and make the effort to explore (sorry, Liz, I'm paraphrasing).  So true. 

This relaxed mood has made me wonder how to improve this blog.  Sometimes reading my own posts bores me.  That can't be good.  But I found some inspiration on the internets (see below) and came up with a few new goals:

1. Loosen up.  Don't let a fear of runaway sentences (as opposed to run-on), incorrect grammar, and misspellings dominate.  Value substance over style, expression over efficiency.  Attempt, don't avoid.

2. Don't imitate others.  Top ten lists, how-to instructionals, recipe roundups, and scheduled features.  They might increase traffic, but all I want to do is to create something I find interesting and worth reading. 

3. Have a sense of humor.  I have one, it just comes out in strange ways, and to be frank, you probably wouldn't think I'm very funny.  And have you ever tried writing humor?  Not easy.  Well, if I can't be funny, then I'll at least appreciate other people's skills.  Bon Appetempt is my personal gold standard.  Funny without strain, pretense, or snark. 

Read, Watch, Eat:

  • A Rogue Chef Tells All, Gabrielle Hamilton, Food & Wine.  I hate the title, but the article is good.  This bit stuck: "When I hear about a chef reaming out his staff, I can only think that he could use a good day off. If his menu looks exactly like a dozen others in town, all $40 foie gras and wild baby whatever, and his tables are empty, he needs to get out and see the eager people queuing up for a Nathan's frank and let that spark his imagination."
  • The Twee Party, Benjamin Wallace, NY Mag.  A verbal playground for adults and foodies.  A true mirror turned on society, if you will (yes, I'm joking, and speaking of overused phrases, read this).  I both laughed and cringed while reading this one.
  • Ten (Super Rad) Blog Post Ideas, Joy the Baker.  Bloggers who help other bloggers are, without question, good people.  Even though these tips conflict with Goal #2 above, I still think helping other people is good.
  • Bon Appetempt Goes to Paris.  Am I really about to say that this is my favorite food blog?  Well, no other name comes to mind quickly, so this must be it.  Amelia Morris won best culinary essay in Saveur's Best Food Blog Awards last year, and this year, she has been nominated for best food humor blog.  She has that ability to combine top-notch food (think Thomas Keller) with real talk and humor.  For example, have you seen her music video, modeled after Robyn's Call Your Girlfriend?


Did you know clarified butter has a higher smoke point than both olive oil and canola oil?  Makes for excellent browning fat!

Happy Presidents' Day!  Are you spending the day in rest?  I am up to my neck in work this week, but the past weekend involved visiting loved ones and a cooking class at Sur La Table.  I have fond memories of my first cooking class at SLT in 2006, not because the recipes were particularly memorable, but because it was an important part of my first foray into adult life.  Then, I imagined adult life to require knowledge of complicated recipes and expensive gadgets.  How things change!  This time around, I focused less on the recipes and gadgets and more on picking up new techniques.  I should disclose that we carried home several Demeyere saute pans as part of the class.  It's not the pan pictured above, but close.  I can't wait to start using this thing.

Not pictured among these photos is a parsley-basil pesto crostini.  I learned that red wine vinegar, though of dubious authenticity, makes an excellent addition to pesto, especially if you're going to eat it with goat cheese on toasty bread.

This may not be news to most of you, but we were happy to find that chicken seared on the stove and finished in the oven is moist and tender.  We tried the same technique last week with steak, and it came out a perfect medium rare.

Chicken with a Shallot-Chianti sauce

We also made profiteroles with a chocolate ganache made with Guittard chocolate.  I only had a bite.  Chocolate and sweets-not really my thing.*

Now it's back to the grind for me.  Below are some new blogs, new products, and a glimpse of what's to come.  Have a great week!

Adding to my Blogroll (thanks, Squid Ink):

  • Eastside Food Bites - A writer and food fan covering all things food in East LA
  • Food Woolf - Exactly what the header says: A restaurant insider's perspective on food, service, and life.
  • The Glutster - A young kid (to me, a twenty two year old is still a kid) takes on food, booze, and punk rock.

Farmers Market Finds:
One great thing about being relatively new to Los Angeles is the repeated joy of discovering local foods.

  • *ChocoVivo - stoneground chocolate, no dairy added.  I liked it despite my apathy toward chocolate.
  • Smart Simple Gourmet - Everything is delicious.  Butternut squash soup? Killer. Ragu bolognese? Best I've had. Founder's story: Worked in corporate America (her words) for years before quitting, going to culinary school, then making delicious, natural, healthful foods.

Coming Up:

The summer has been busyyy, if you haven't already noticed with my relative lack of updates!  I've been occupied with things, good things, to the point where I almost forgot about cooking.  Almost, I say, because even when I don't have time to cook, I read.  I love finding new blogs or becoming more familiar with old ones.  Here are two I'm reading today and adding to my blogroll at right.  In that list, you'll find blogs I enjoy, versus ones I feel I "should" enjoy (which shall go unnamed).  

And to divert you on a tangent, I am plotting a new event to feature on WCP.  Currently, I am being held up by a lack of venue, but if all turns out well, there will soon be new faces and new stories on this blog!

Matcha Green Tea Macarons, photo by Spoonful of Lemons

My friend Cat has an eye (and an appetite) for food, as attested by her blog Spoonful of Lemons.  She always seems to be elbow-deep in some food project that would otherwise intimidate me.  Example: Perfect macarons.  She also happens to be a full-time student, which makes her food endeavors that much more impressive.  But best of all, she's down to earth and loves life.

Kimchi Bibim Guksu, photo by Eating and Living

Nothing about the name of this blog would suggest Korean food, but that's exactly what this is.  Hyosun Ro is a Korean-American mom who taught herself how to cook the food of her childhood in Korea and now shares it with the world at Eating and Living.  Though I am one further generation removed, I, too, have been wanting to learn how to cook the food I grew up with.  So far, I have been too intimidated to start, but with my Korean cousin visiting next week, this is a good a time to start as any.  And now I have found my inspiration-real Korean dishes, beauuutiful photography that makes your mouth drool, and a blogger with a day job and a family!  I recommend it to anyone curious to know how Koreans actually eat.  Clue: It's not endless platters of galbi.

So there you have it!  Two new blogs to add to your reader.  I hope to feature more in the future, so if you have any recommendations, send them my way!

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