Marcella Hazan’s Immortal Tomato Sauce Recipe


While Craig was gone these past nine days, I found myself watching a lot of True Blood on HBO Go. I’m still finishing up Season One, so no spoilers please, but I found myself quite choked up at a moment that was a subtle one, as far as the series goes. Sookie, the protagonist, is mourning the loss of a relative (see, I’m not spoiling it either) who–before dying–made a pecan pie, half of which remains in the refrigerator. At the wake, Sookie freaks out when someone tries to remove it; at the end of the episode, she eats the pecan pie and cries. What got me was this notion that through our food we live on even after our death. The ingredients that we use are merely objects, but how we combine those objects–with our touch, our sense of taste–is a manifestation of our spirit. It’s also true of the recipes we leave behind. And so, in the real world, we mourned the loss of Italian cooking legend Marcella Hazan this weekend and last night I could think of no greater tribute than to make her celebrated tomato sauce with butter–a sauce that every home cook should know.

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Reasons To Make A Crumb Cake This Weekend


1. Because it’s the weekend and you can eat whatever you want and not get fat.

2. Because crumb cake works equally well as breakfast, as an afternoon snack, a post-dinner dessert or a late night treat.

3. You have four sticks of butter in your refrigerator and you don’t know what to do with them.

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Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb and Pine Nuts


Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem is so popular Julia Moskin of The New York Times did an article about “Jerusalem fever.” Do I have Jerusalem fever? Well, I’ve been cooking from it gradually, making that fattoush a few months ago, and that beet dip I posted about yesterday. The beet dip was for this week’s Clean Plate Club and the entree, also from Jerusalem, is the one you see above: eggplant stuffed with lamb and pine nuts.

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The Clean Plate Club, Episode #9: Whitney Adams, Kyle Buchanan

Our new neighbor here in Atwater Village is the illustrious and delightful Kyle Buchanan who is the movies editor of New York Magazine, the kind of guy who, when you’re talking about Miley Cyrus, is able to say: “I interviewed her for the cover of Cosmo last month.” (Ya, but did he make cookies based on her tongue? I don’t think so!). He joins us for this week’s Clean Plate Club along with another illustrious person: sommelier Whitney Adams, who I met last year at a dinner party, and who–in addition to working at Domaine L.A. and Terroni–runs the blog Brunellos Have More Fun. Whitney teaches us terms like “tertiary vapors” and “natural yeast,” while also gossiping about her time as hostess at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut.

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Beet Dip


“Dip” is a funny word because, really, does it make you hungry? It connotes a drop in the road or a dippy person. It’s also kind of retro. “How about some chips and dip,” says a mom on a black-and-white TV show from the past, doesn’t matter which one. Oh: it also connotes chewing tobacco which my college roommate used to spit into a cup. He’d leave the cup around our dorm room and every so often I’d glance into it and want to puke. So dip, yeah. It’s not the sexiest food word.

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My Heart’s Aflame For Chengdu Taste (My Mouth Too)


This is the place. I’ve been in L.A. for two years, stalking my way around the San Gabriel valley, slurping noodles at Tasty Noodle House and tearing into salted egg yolk pastries at Sea Harbour. Secretly, I was looking for a place that would put our favorite New York Chinese restaurant, Grand Sichuan, to shame. The only thing that was in the same ballpark was Chung King where I went with Zach Brooks last year. It was ok, but it didn’t blow me out of the water. I’d pretty much let go of the idea of supplanting Grand Sichuan since most of my San Gabriel experiences were Cantonese. Then, last week, I met up with Ganda and Zach for lunch at a place that Kat Odell recommended during my podcast: Chengdu Taste. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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Ignore The Sell By Date

According to this Mother Jones article, it’s not for you: it’s “meant for store stockers to keep track of product rotation. It offers little indication of when the milk may actually sour.” The story goes on to connect this to a larger problem, that of food waste. 1/3rd of the global food supply is wasted and “here in America, we’re even worse: Roughly 40 percent of our food goes uneaten, amounting to an economic loss of $165 billion a year.” So keep using that milk until it really is sour.

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