Global Cuisine

Noodle Diplomacy: Deconstructing the Biden Set

Print Email
by Nancy Ellison

chinesetheater.jpgI knew them so well, I am sure I could have called them by their first name or (at the very least) in our family’s preferred style – ‘Uncle’ Chiang and ‘Auntie’ Madame Chiang, but I had much too much respect for those monstrously large and patronizing portraits that hung in the Grauman’s Chinese Theater to call them anything but Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and Madame Chiang Kai-shek. And, I always greeted them with reverence each Friday night when we went to the Chinese Theater and to the movies! I guess I was seven, and I had never seen portraits so grand and large. I wonder what happened to them. When were they un-ceremoniously dethroned and where are they now? Probably, resting on their sides against the wall of some antique warehouse in downtown Los Angeles smelling of incense and camphor…

Besides movies at the Chinese Theater, (Remember Dragon Seed with that lovely Chinese actress, Katherine Hepburn?) there were exotic dinners with my parents in Chinatown restaurants and visits afterwards to the small gift shops nearby where I fondled the porcelain dishes with green dragons, vowing one day to have plates just like them at home when I served Chinese food which I would surely learn to create.

Spicy Miso Ramen Noodle Soup

Print Email
by Joseph Erdos

ramen.jpgI love ramen soup and I'm not talking about the instant kind—though I did love a bowlful now and then during college. I mean the real ramen that you can get in Japanese noodle bars. Ramen noodles, especially when they're freshly made can be amazing. They are worlds apart from the instant kind. Whenever I feel a little under the weather or I just crave a hot bowl of soup, my go-to dish for ultimate soothing power is a bowl of ramen.

Lately I've become obsessed with having ramen for lunch. My coworkers and I go out to eat ramen at least once or twice every week. We've all been bitten by the ramen bug. New York City has countless noodle bars, ranging from cheap to very pricey. But they all offer the classic broths for ramen, including salt broth, soy sauce broth, and miso broth. They even have cold ramen served with dipping sauces. My favorite is the miso broth, which also comes in a spicy version called tan-tan men. It's the soup I turn to for a good sinus clearing! This is why ramen is the perfect cold weather soup.

Baked Citrus Chicken

Print Email
by Maylynn Morales

citrus-chicken-a.jpgGrowing up in a dual cultured household gave me the opportunity to enjoy varied foods, and to make up recipes incorporating my Mexican and Peruvian roots. If there is one thing that our house was filled with, it was warmth in the form of comfort food. With kids returning to school, fall is just around the corner and this is an easy recipe I enjoy with my family on sunless weekends. It incorporates my mother’s Mexican style of cooking with lots of citrus and flavor, and my father’s Peruvian technique of basically putting everything in one pot into the oven.

The idea of this recipe came to me while traveling in Peru in 2010. I experience my first “pachamanca” while visiting family in the high altitude villages 2 hours away from Lima. Pachamanca is a Quechua word; a language still spoken in Peru today. Pacha means: of the earth; and manca mean: pot. This form of cooking requires that all ingredients go into a large hole in the earth lined with hot stones. This includes Chicken, lamb, beef, guinea pigs, potatoes, etc. Once all ingredients are placed inside, it’s covered with more stones, and ultimately becomes a mound of dirt. Within a couple of hours, everything inside is cooked to a tender texture and wonderful flavors.

Asian Eggplant Stir Fry

Print Email
by Joseph Erdos

japeggplant2.jpgEggplants are some of the most unique and interesting vegetables. Many of us in the States are only familiar with the large and bulbous globe variety. But there are many more to be found elsewhere in the world. Eggplants, also called aubergines, are native to Asia with many different varieties found throughout the continent. Asian eggplants come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes. Some berries—as they are botanically referred to—are thin and long, others short and spherical. Colors range from white and green to purple and almost black with some even striped. A thinner skin and milder flesh make the Asian varieties much more prized than the oftentimes bitter globe.

You don't have to go all the way to Asia to find some amazing specimens. Many are available in Asian markets, farmers' markets, and even as plants in garden nurseries. I've found many in my local international market, such as the small Indian variety, which I used in this green curry. For this stir-fry recipe I use the long Japanese variety. I quickly toss chunks of eggplant in a hot wok and add a sweet-tart sauce, chile pepper, and Thai basil. The dish makes a wonderful appetizer or vegetarian main course when served with rice. A fast meal with fresh vegetables is the best way to enjoy the bounties of summer.

Pickled Onions & Crispy Tacos

Print Email
by Susan Salzman

taco.steak_.crispy.sm_.jpgWhen ever I am asked what would my last meal be, the answer is always the same; a crispy taco.  Crispy tacos are way at the top of my list of favorites and I have absolutely no will power when it comes to ordering in a Mexican restaurant.  Intellectually, I know I should be ordering the soft tacos with grilled chicken or grilled shrimp in a Verde sauce.  But I just can’t seem to help myself.

Growing up, a typical day was swimming at the Nathan’s pool, doing some arts and crafts, and then gathering up my friends and riding our bikes to Taco Tio. Taco Tio was a typical little taco stand about 3/4 of a mile from my house. Food was ordered through a sliding mesh screen and there were a few stools that sat under the outside, very high counter.  I would order my crispy tacos, sit on those stools,  and watch the lady make and assemble my afternoon snack. When Taco Tio closed and a sub shop tooks it place, it was a sad day in the neighborhood.  And to this day, I have had a hard time replacing the taste of both their tacos or those memories.

Manchego Cheese, Chorizo and Quince-Paste Toast with Fresh Mint

Print Email
by Jeanne Kelley

quincecrostini2.jpgDoesn't sound very fast. Also sounds serious. Manchego y Chorizo Tapa con Membrillo Does it sound any simpler in Spanish?

Let's just call it good. This crunchy, little toast is the perfect pile of salty, meaty and sweet with a jigger of freshness by way of mint leaves. The most difficult, and okay, a bit spendy, part of this tapa, is the tracking down of the fine, Spanish ingredients – Manchego, Chorizo and Membrillo (quince paste – a spicy, sweet, firm jam that is a traditional accompaniment to cheese – oh, and if you don't know what quince is....).

A cheese boutique, a Spanish specialty shop or a Fancy Food Mega Store should carry everything needed. If you live where there are no such markets, consider some click-and-spend shopping with La Espanola.(While there, order some cantimpalitos, Spanish cocktail sausages, for your next soiree – they're awesome.)

Stir-fried Pork and Sugar Snap Peas

Print Email
by Joseph Erdos

snowpeastirfry.jpgPeas are one of my favorite vegetables to grow. Just plant them near something they can attach to and watch them emerge from the earth, their tendrils climbing and clinging, eventually bearing bulbous pods filled with green pearls. I grow two varieties: classic shell peas and sugar snap peas, which I use mainly for stir-frying. But I love them raw too. They make a nice addition to a salad. Every now and then I'll pluck one from the bush and nibble on it while I'm out and about in the garden. Snap peas are crispy, sweet, and completely edible, pod and all. For me peas are the harbingers of spring going into summer.

This stir-fry recipe features sugar snap peas paired with tender pork, all enrobed in a Thai-style sauce that is sweet, spicy, and savory. Chicken or beef would also work wonderfully well in place of pork. To round out the dish, Jasmine rice simmered in coconut water makes a nice match. The sweetness of the coconut counterbalances the heat of the chile pepper. It's also lower in fat than coconut milk but just as flavorful. This simple and healthy stir-fry comes together in literally minutes, making it ideal for a quick meal for one hearty eater or two dainty ones.

Vietnamese Shrimp-and-Herb Summer Rolls

Print Email
by Joseph Erdos

summerspringrolls.jpgMy taste buds have never been so excited as when I'm eating Vietnamese food. I clearly remember my first taste of bánh mì—the baguette sandwich filled with pork, pâté, pickled vegetables, and cilantro—so many year ago. I was struck by the sandwich's refreshing flavor. Since then I've made many Vietnamese recipes. The reason why I love the cuisine so much is because of its wide use of herbs. They bring so much flavor to dishes, but the most flavor comes when they are used fresh.

This Vietnamese recipe features basil, mint, and chives—all add a burst of flavor to every bite. Unlike fried spring rolls or egg rolls, these fresh summer rolls, also known as spring rolls or salad rolls, contain lettuce and herbs along with rice vermicelli and cooked shrimp. The rolls make a great cold party appetizer. Their fresh taste is the perfect way to celebrate the season.

Mexican Stew

Print Email
by James Farmer III

mexisoup.jpgSo any dish that I can make one day, eat it the next two or so, and enjoy it every time is a winner in my book. Soups and stews are most always better once they have “set” and allowed their flavors to thoroughly combine. This stew slash thick soup is of no exception. Delicious right out of the pot and just as good the next day, my Mexican Stew is an easy winner.

Don’t get me wrong, I love soups and food in general, but condiments, sides, garnishes, and flavor savors make a dish! Sour cream and Monterey Pepper Jack cheese in this case. Now, about this cheese…oh my! The Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack I love is from our local meat market, M&T Meats in Hawkinsville. It IS a cheese among cheeses. Very creamy, plenty of pepper warmth but not fiery, and melts in a jiffy…this is a cheese for me! The ones at the grocery are just fine, but if you have the chance to buy a local cheese, pounce on the opportunity…it is well worth it!

I digress, back on to the Mexican Stew. Meaty, hearty, and full of flavor, this stew was born out of what I had on hand – sometimes making the best dishes. A leaner ground beef and little bit of ground sausage (plain ol’ good sausage, no flavorings…mine again was from M&T) make for a textural background flavor and also provide the right amount of cooking fat for the whole stew.

Spanish Tortilla

Print Email
by Joseph Erdos

ImageKnown as tortilla de patatas or tortilla española, this dish is not your Mexican tortilla but an omelette of potatoes bound together with eggs. This traditional Spanish food is commonly offered as a tapas served at bars or taken on picnics. It's what I'd like to think of as a Spanish version of the French quiche. In some areas of Spain these tortillas are made in large deep pans so the dish almost looks like a cake or a wheel of cheese. Tortillas made at home resemble American omelettes or Italian frittatas. What makes this tortilla so appealing is how buttery the potatoes turn when they are cooked in olive oil.

Making a tortilla always starts the same way: thin potato slices are boiled in olive oil. They must not be fried or get any color, they should be just cooked until tender. Next the potatoes are combined with beaten eggs and then poured and spread into a skillet. It is cooked on one side and then flipped over to cook on the other. The basic tortilla is made of simply potatoes and eggs, but other ingredients can be added, such as onions, bell peppers, or chorizo. This recipe features all three for the ultimate Spanish flavor.


restaurant news

A Night with Ludo
Los Angeles
by Ben Chinn

ludosign.jpgAfter watching Ludo Lefebvre on Top Chef Masters I knew I wanted try out his food. Around the same time his episode aired he opened up a “pop-up” restaurant at Bread Bar on 3rd St. On Tuesday...

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Los Angeles
by Fredrica Duke

wolfsheeptableWhen I first met my husband, I told him that I’m part Native American. I’m also half Jewish. This is when he said to me, “You don’t live on a reservation…you make them.”

I’m sorry, but you will...

La Dolce Vita
Los Angeles
by Pamela Felcher

teachersdesk.jpgAs I have mentioned, I am a teacher in the LAUSD and this year the budget cuts cost me dearly. I lost the auxiliary class I have taught for the last nine years, and though this class added the...

Savage's Sugar Cookies
Southern States
by Seale Ballenger

savagecookie.jpgWhen I was a kid growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, my favorite food in the whole wide world were sugar cookies from Savage's Bakery in Homewood. Made fresh daily, from before I could even walk, I...