Look, it’s Friday, and I need to get something off my chest. Two weeks ago? I ate the first pupusa of my life at the Atwater Village Farmer’s Market and didn’t tell you about it. I’m sorry! Things just got busy and I had to tell you about that toasted almond gelato and how to squeeze a lemon without getting the seeds everywhere. But look, here we are now, and it’s time to make amends. Let me tell you about my pupusa (isn’t that a Missy Elliott lyric?).
Writing my cookbook, I learned a nifty trick from Chef Jonathan Waxman for when you just need a squeeze of lemon. You cut around the lemon like you’re cutting around the core of an apple, leaving the center and creating these flat wedges that squeeze extra easily and produce lots of juice with a minimal amount of seeds. I use that trick all the time, but not when I want to use the juice of a whole lemon. When I want all the juice out of a lemon, like when I’m making a blender salad dressing, I use a technique that makes the job a lot easier, especially if the lemon is full of seeds.
[My friend Dara Bratt, an award-winning filmmaker, kindly offered to write a guest post about her recent trip to Belfast. How could I say no? What follows is an epic story of treacherous bridges, overflowing pints of Guinness and a meal so extraordinary, it had to be consumed twice.]
For my husband’s 40th birthday, I surprised him with a trip to Belfast and the rest of Northern Ireland. His dad, who passed away before I met him, was born there, and Kieran had never been. To execute this mega-surprise, I had the support of his mom, and in Northern Ireland, my cohorts were Kieran’s cousin Judith and his Uncle Peter.
Our two guests at this week’s Clean Plate Club have a lot in common, though–as required by The Clean Plate Club manifesto–one is a food professional, one is not. Our food professional is Noah Galuten, who runs the kitchen at Bludso’s BBQ and hosts a terrific web show on YouTube called “The Food Feeder” (embedded below); he’s also been a food blogger (Man Bites World) and a writer for L.A. Weekly. Our other guest is the hilarious Billy Scafuri who you’ve probably seen in the viral videos he’s made with his comedy troupe The Harvard Sailing Team (I’ll embed “Boys Will Be Girls” below; it’s been viewed over 5 million times!).
Last year, an article came out that I immediately bookmarked. It was on AsiaSociety.com and it was written by a man named David Chan who ate at over 6,000 Chinese restaurants in America to determine the best. His list of the 10 Best was notable because all of the restaurants were in California, mostly Los Angeles. As he explained, “More wealthy/professional Chinese settle in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, and they demand, and can afford, a higher quality of Chinese food.” #2 on his list was a place called Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant and last week, I made plans to lunch there with my fellow food bloggers (and former Clean Plate Club guests) Ganda Suthivarakom and Zach Brooks.
I’m pretty flattered/honored to be #11 on First We Feast’s list of the Best Food Bloggers of All Time. Their description of me made me laugh (“Roberts is that kind of annoying eager beaver who keeps knocking at your door and doing a different act, until eventually you’re just like, ‘Goddamn, this guy is talented.'”) I have some quibbles with the list–too many established food writers who happen to blog, not enough genuine food bloggers–but, still, this made my day.
The smartest food bloggers rave about the recipes they post in the first paragraph so you’re positively dying to click ahead and read the rest. Me? I kind of do that, but I also can’t help being a truth-teller. So yesterday, I was honest when I said that I loved the Franny’s Toasted Almond Gelato recipe I made, but I also said it tasted–just very slightly–like snot. Now I’m here to tell you about a rice salad that I made from Staffmeals (quickly becoming one of my most-used cookbooks) that I enjoyed, but not fully, mostly because of how I cooked the rice.
Dorie Greenspan is the master of thrifty vinaigrettes. I’m a big believer in her Mustard Bottle Vinaigrette (where you pour vinegar and oil into an almost empty mustard jar and shake it up), and now I can’t wait to try her Leftover Tomato Vinaigrette (where you take leftover tomato salad and whir it up to make a dressing).